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Benzene Exposure at Work

NY Workers’ Compensation Attorneys for Benzene Exposure Claims

Used to make plastics, lubricants, rubber, dyes, paints, detergents, pesticides and numerous other products, benzene is used various applications. Employees in a number of fields may therefore come into contact with this known human carcinogen (cancer-causing substance). Benzene exposure has been linked to leukemia, multiple myeloma and Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. Typical exposure occurs when the chemical is inhaled, but it may also be absorbed through the skin.

If you have been diagnosed with leukemia or are suffering any health problems linked to benzene exposure, please schedule a free case review with a qualified professional at Napoli Shkolnik, PLLC. Our firm represents injured and ill workers throughout New York and across the country in workers’ compensation claims, hearings and appeals related to occupational exposure to benzene and other serious toxins. We also handle personal injury lawsuits and environmental litigation for individuals and communities that have been adversely affected by benzene exposure. With our help, you can seek financial compensation for lost earnings, medical expenses and possibly more.

 

Benzene and Leukemia

Benzene is a colorless and odorless liquid that is flammable and evaporates quickly when exposed to air. It is one of the 20 most used chemicals in the country, typically used as a solvent or as a starting material for other chemicals. Because it is used in so many ways, people may be exposed at work, in the environment in general or from consumer products. They may suffer health problems as a result. The link between benzene and leukemia is well established. The chemical has also been linked to other cancers of the blood. According to the American Cancer Society website:

Benzene is known to cause cancer, based on evidence from studies in both people and laboratory animals. The link between benzene and cancer has largely focused on leukemia and cancers of other blood cells.

Leukemia is a cancer of the blood cells that starts in the bone marrow, where blood cells are made. The bone marrow makes white blood cells to fight infection, red blood cells to carry oxygen and platelets to help the blood clot. When a person has leukemia, the bone marrow begins to produce excessive amounts of abnormal white blood cells that do not do their normal work and instead grow quickly and without restraint. They may crowd out red blood cells, causing anemia, infections and bleeding. Cancerous cells may also spread to the organs and to the lymph nodes. Untreated, leukemia may be fatal.

 

Leukemia Symptoms

Symptoms of leukemia may include:

  • Loss of appetite;
  • Weight loss;
  • Headaches;
  • Fever and night sweats;
  • Bruising or bleeding easily;
  • High incidence of infections;
  • Swollen lymph nodes;
  • Bone or joint pain; and
  • Fatigue and weakness.

There are different types of leukemia; studies have found that workers exposed to benzene have a higher risk of developing acute myeloid leukemia (AML). This type of leukemia may worsen quickly and is more common in men than in women. Incidences of AML increase with age.

 

Other Effects of Exposure

Benzene exposure may cause other health problems in workers and others. Short-term exposure through inhalation may adversely affect the central nervous system, causing headaches, unconsciousness, dizziness, confusion and drowsiness. Skin contact with liquid benzene may cause irritation, redness and blisters. Short-term ingestion of benzene can cause vomiting, rapid heart rate, convulsions, sleepiness and dizziness. Ingesting large amounts of benzene may be fatal.

Long-term benzene exposure may harm the blood marrow, leading to anemia and low white blood cell or blood platelet counts. A low white blood cell count may affect the body’s ability to fight infection, which may prove fatal. A low platelet count interferes with normal blood clotting and may therefore cause excessive bleeding.

 

Contact a New York Workers’ Compensation Lawyer

Benzene is regulated by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Employers must provide proper training and safety equipment to workers exposed to benzene or substances that contain benzene. Benzene levels are limited in gasoline and drinking water by the EPA and in bottled water by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). To learn more about exposure and what options you have if you’ve been exposed at work or in any scenario, talk to an attorney at our firm.

With our experience in handling workers’ compensation claims and our commitment to holding negligent parties accountable in personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits, we are prepared to see how we can best represent your interests. Contact our firm today.