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VICTIMS OF DIESEL EXPOSURES

What is Benzene?

Published on July 12th, 2017 by Andrew L. Hughes

Benzene is a highly flammable, often colorless chemical that, at room temperature, is liquid, but evaporates quickly. Benzene occurs naturally in crude oil. Benzene is a component of petroleum products including diesel fuel and gasoline.  Benzene is among the twenty most utilized chemicals in the United States.  Benzene is often used as a base material in products like plastics, degreasers, solvents, lubricants, pesticides, rubbers, dyes, resins, and nylons.

Is There Benzene in Diesel Exhaust?

Yes.  Benzene can be found in both the gas phase and the soot associated with diesel exhaust.

What are the Exposure Routes for Benzene?

Benzene can be inhaled, ingested or absorbed through the skin and even, the eyes.  If you’ve spent years working around diesel fuel, vapors and exhaust, you’ve unfortunately been exposed to benzene.

What Type of Workers are Exposed to Benzene?

Through the years, railroad workers have suffered benzene exposures via use of mineral spirits, solvents, degreasers and through diesel exposures.  Firefighters suffer regular benzene exposures.  Workers in numerous industries including chemical plants, oil refineries, steel plants, printing presses, fuel service stations, tanneries and tire plants are also regularly exposed.

What Type of Products Contain Benzene?

Fuels, inks, glues, paints, solvents, detergents, degreasers, lubricants, pesticides, rubbers, coatings, polishes, thinners and waxes.  Some well-known brands that contained benzene include Liquid Wrench, Naptha, Gumout and Ortho Weed-B-Gone.

What Illnesses are Associated with Benzene Exposures?

Various blood and bone marrow disorders including Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML), Myelodysplastic Syndrome (MDS), Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia (ALL) and Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL).  Multiple Myeloma, Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and Aplastic Anemia are linked as well.   Benzene is classified as “Carcinogenic to Humans” by the World Health Organization.  In the United States, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and National Institutes of Health (NIH) all classify benzene as either “known to be a human carcinogen” or “known human carcinogen.”

Have Doctors Just Determined that Benzene is Dangerous?

No.  Benzene has been used commercially since the 1800’s and even back then, doctors were able to note the detrimental effects that it had on workers.  As with asbestos, big corporations continued to use benzene because in their mind, the utility of its uses outweighed the risks to their employees.

But Aren’t Benzene Exposures Safe at Lower Levels?

Despite what the petrochemical conglomerates, steel mills, railroads and oil field bosses tell you, there is no safe level of benzene exposure.  The corporate defendants will hire experts to say your exposures were at “safe levels”, but there is no denying the genetic damage wreaked by long-term exposures to benzene. Plaintiffs with benzene “biomarkers” who are suffering from occupational diseases like acute myeloid leukemia and myelodysplastic syndrome have very strong cases.

Does Diesel Injury Law only accept “Diesel Cases”?

We are frequently contacted by workers who suspect their occupational disease was caused by diesel exposures and most of the time, they are correct.  But we will analyze all the workplace exposures and determine the best legal avenues for the ideal results.  Our analysis begins with diesel and often leads to other toxins in the workplace associated with the illness at hand.  We consult with top medical and toxicological experts to prove your case. If you suspect that you have been exposed to benzene in your line of work and have developed a condition, please contact us today.

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