In October, 27 scientists from around the world met at the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) as a working group to finalize their assessment of benzene’s link to cancer, the Lancet Oncology reports. The earliest evidence of the toxic chemical’s link to cancer dates back to the late 1920s, though the carcinogenicity link was not conclusively proven until 1979 through the use of animal studies. The working group this year reviewed important new findings “from several large occupational cohort studies” offering more evidence of the link between occupational benzene exposure and cancer, specifically AML and acute non-lymphocytic leukemia.
We have previously reported that prolonged exposure to benzene, such as in the workplace, is a risk factor for the development of Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML), which begins as Myelodysplastic Syndrome (MDS).
For those who are new to the Report, benzene is a solvent used in the rubber industry, oil refineries, chemical plants, shoe manufacturing, and gasoline-related industries, and is also found in cigarette smoke, gasoline and motor vehicle exhaust, and some glues, cleaning products, detergents, art supplies, and paints. Workers within these industries are at a higher risk of benzene exposure. The sweet-smelling toxic chemical can be inhaled or absorbed through the skin or eyes. Those who develop AML may not initially be aware they are displaying symptoms of the disease. This is because the symptoms, including fever, feeling tired, and easy bruising or bleeding present gradually and can be easily linked to other more common conditions. A combination of blood and bone marrow tests is used to diagnose AML.
If you would like more information about benzene exposure and benzene-related cancers such as AML, you can contact John Tomlinson, a lawyer in our Toxic Torts Section. John, who has handled these cases for the firm, can be reached at 800-898-2034 or by email John.Tomlinson@beasleyallen.com. You can also find more information at www.benzene-exposure.com.
Source: The Lancet Oncology