Diesel Injury Law

Diesel Injury Law Blog

Aplastic Anemia

Aplastic anemia occurs when your body’s bone marrow stops producing enough red blood cells. Typically, when old blood cells have run their course, they are replaced by the bone marrow’s new red blood cells. However, in an individual with aplastic anemia, these new red blood cells do not appear as often as needed, making the body unable to clot when bleeding and unable to fight off infections.

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    Exposures to toxic chemicals in the workplace including benzene, pesticides, and herbicides have been known to increase one’s risk of getting aplastic anemia. Other risk factors include family history, previous radiation or chemotherapy treatment, certain autoimmune disorders, (such as hepatitis or HIV) and use of drugs prescribed to treat rheumatoid arthritis.

    Aplastic Anemia and Railroad Exposures

    Benzene, organic solvents, insecticides, herbicides, paint removers, and other toxins in the workplace have been tied to an increased risk of aplastic anemia.

    Benzene is a component found in diesel fuel and gasoline. Locomotive engineers, conductors, and yard workers can be at an elevated risk of aplastic anemia if they are exposed to diesel exhaust on a long-term basis. The Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry found that “benzene-induced aplastic anemia is caused by chronic exposure at relatively high doses”—common in industries like railroads, auto repair, and machinery work.

    Beyond diesel, however, benzene is also used as a compound in industrial products such as paints, degreasers, solvents, rubbers, and resins. Paint thinners and removers often contain chemicals like toluene and other compounds that can contribute to an increased risk of getting aplastic anemia.

    Benzene is one of many organic solvents, alongside toluene, alcohols, and nitrates. Organic solvents are widely used in disinfectants, degreasers, and other cleaning supplies that can be found in industrial workplaces. Workers who use organic solvents – such as locomotive machinists and railroad car department employees – often are at an increased risk of getting aplastic anemia. Additionally, paint thinners and removers often contain chemicals like toluene that can contribute to an increased risk of getting aplastic anemia.

    Lastly, insecticides and herbicides are most often found in the farming industry and contain a multitude of chemicals that can be harmful via long term exposures. These solutions can be inhaled, ingested or absorbed through the skin.  The toxins eventually find their way into the bloodstream, contributing to an increased risk of aplastic anemia.

    Importance of Aplastic Anemia Screenings

    Aplastic anemia may occur suddenly or may develop over time. Some of these symptoms include fatigue, shortness of breath, prolonged or unexplainable bleeding or infections, easy bruising, and skin rashes.

    A doctor will test for aplastic anemia by looking at a patient’s family history, symptoms reported and blood test results. After diagnosis, treatment for aplastic anemia may include blood transfusions, medications, or bone marrow transplants. Specific treatment is dependent on a patient’s preferences, as well as the aggressiveness of the aplastic anemia diagnosis.

    Contact a Railroad Cancer Lawyer

    If you believe you are suffering from aplastic anemia due to exposures at the railroad, our team at Hughes Law Offices may be able to help. Contact us today to get started.

    Aplastic Anemia cases (non-railroad)

    $824,000 verdict – plaintiff worked with printing solvents and inks that contained benzene throughout his 33-year career. He was diagnosed with a blood and bone marrow cancer, and at trial, experts testified that benzene has been a known cause of aplastic anemia since 1897.

    DeSorbo v. Varn International Inc. d/b/a Varn Products Co.

    $55,000 settlement — Plaintiff was diagnosed with aplastic anemia after his employment with Globe Security, allegedly caused by his exposure to chloroform, trichloroethylene, acetate, sulfuric acid, hydrochloric acid, and nitric acid.

    Dawn Denise Tomson v. National Union Fire Ins. Co. Pitts

    Hughes Law Offices is providing case histories to inform visitors about actual case fact patterns and rulings in your area. Unless specifically noted, the cases summarized herein were not handled by attorneys at Hughes Law Offices.

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