Background Benzene Information
Benzene is a chemical that has been known to cause cancer in humans since 1979.
While most people are exposed to benzene in small amounts through air pollution, gasoline, and other environmental routes, those who work around benzene-containing products or the chemical itself are at a particular risk of developing cancer.
Specific workers in various industries may be exposed to benzene through inhalation or dermal contact with benzene.
While researchers have known of benzene’s ability to cause leukemia in humans for decades, in 2009, they found additional evidence that it can cause the following diseases:
- Acute myeloid leukaemia (AML)
- Acute non-lymphocytic leukaemia
- Acute lymphocytic leukaemia (ALL)
- Chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL)
- Multiple myeloma
- Non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL)
Benzene exposure has also been associated with myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS), which is frequently recognized as “pre-leukemia.”
A December 2017 study reevaluated previous information provided in earlier studies on benzene, and reaffirmed its carcinogenic status. Researchers provide the following information in this new study:
Benzene is easily absorbed, widely distributed, and extensively metabolised…It exhibits many of the key characteristics of carcinogens. In particular, strong evidence, including in exposed humans, shows that benzene is metabolically activated, induces oxidative stress, is genotoxic, is immunosuppressive, and causes haematotoxicity. [Footnotes omitted]
The study further explains how benzene negatively affects DNA as well as the blood-forming organs such as bone marrow in humans and animals alike.
If you or someone you know have developed one of the previously-mentioned diseases after occupational exposure to benzene, we encourage you to complete a free case evaluation.
For more information, view our Benzene Overview page, or our Frequently Asked Questions page.
Written by: Heather Helmendach, Legal Assistant
Law Offices of Thomas J. Lamb, P.A.