As technology and industry have evolved, we have found that old ways of doing some things are not as safe as we once thought and new solutions are necessary to protect people who perform that work. Benzene is one of the most prolific chemicals in United States manufacturing. This flammable, colorless, sweet-smelling liquid evaporates very quickly once it has been exposed to open air. It is used as a raw material for manufacturing plastics, rubbers, drugs, lubricants, pesticides, and some detergents. Benzene is also found in gasoline, crude oil, and cigarette smoke.
Exposure to Benzene
As you can see, there are several possible ways for people to come into contact with benzene. People who work in manufacturing facilities may encounter this substance on a regular basis. Walking outside near traffic also results in exposure through car exhaust fumes and other emissions. One of the most common ways people are exposed to benzene is from secondhand cigarette smoke. Benzene can also find its way into drinking water supplies.
Several official oversight agencies have linked benzene to some serious health complications, including anemia, reproductive harm, low blood platelet count, and low white blood cell count. Researchers have also identified benzene as a contributing cause of several forms of cancer, including leukemia and acute myeloid leukemia. The rates of contracting these cancers appear to be higher for people who work in industries that expose them to benzene. Benzene has been identified by several official agencies as a cancer-causing substance:
- The International Agency for Research on Cancer identifies benzene as carcinogenic to humans.
- The National Toxicology Program classifies benzene as “known to be a human carcinogen.”
- The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) also classifies benzene as a known human carcinogen.
Although benzene can cause serious health problems, the risk is generally proportionate to the degree and frequency of exposure. As such, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) as well as the EPA enforce strict rules regarding acceptable levels of benzene exposure in the workplace and benzene content in consumer products.
Potential Lawsuits From Benzene Exposure
Given that benzene exposure is known to cause serious health problems and government agencies enforce strict regulations concerning benzene, employers in workplaces that handle benzene must follow these regulations to prevent undue risk to employees.
If you’ve contracted an illness linked to benzene exposure, it’s important to positively identify the source of your exposure. If your work requires you to experience any regular exposure to benzene, it’s vital to check whether or not the levels of your exposure fall within acceptable bounds. If you find that benzene levels in your work area are much higher than expected, or your employer shirked their obligations concerning benzene exposure, you may be able to hold them accountable for your illness and damages.
People all across the country have positively linked benzene exposure with the contraction of cancers and other serious health problems. If the negligence of another party, employer, or company resulted in overexposure to benzene, the affected individuals can file lawsuits against the offending parties to obtain compensation for their medical expenses, lost income, and pain and suffering.
If you or a loved one has contracted a health condition linked to benzene exposure and have reason to believe another party’s negligence is to blame, it is imperative to speak with a qualified personal injury attorney as soon as possible. Contact Anapol Weiss for your free consultation. Our experienced Philadelphia personal injury attorneys will examine your case and fight on your behalf for compensation.