Workers who were exposed to benzene and developed acute myeloid leukemia are filing lawsuits against large industrial companies. The lawsuits allege the companies knew or should have known the chemical can cause cancer but failed to warn about the risks. Benzene exposure lawsuits have resulted in multimillion-dollar verdicts and settlements.
- Auto repair shops
- Bus garages
- Chemical plants
- Oil pipelines
- Petroleum refineries
- Ships and tankers
- Shoe factories
Report: Industry Knew About Risks
The Center for Public Integrity has reported that companies hid benzene’s cancer risk. The center published a report in 2014 that said companies knew as early as 1948 that benzene could cause cancer.
The center’s report said companies spent $36 million for research saying benzene was safe. The report relied on thousands of pages of company documents.
Where Benzene Is Found
Oil companies add benzene to gasoline to boost octane. It gives gasoline much of its aroma. The chemical is also found in car exhaust.
Benzene is used to make other chemicals, as well. Manufacturers rely on benzene for products ranging from medicine to industrial solvents.
How Benzene Exposure Happens
Most benzene exposure happens when people breathe in air containing benzene. People can also absorb it as a liquid through their skin. This can happen if people spill gasoline or solvents on themselves.
Where Benzene Exposure Happens
Benzene exposure usually happens in an industrial setting. But an act as simple as filling a gas tank can result in low-level exposure.
Chemical and petroleum industry workers may face long-term exposure. Mechanics and other people who work around engines, fuel or oil also face exposure risks.
Questions Benzene Lawyers May Ask
What is your occupation?
Individuals who work in a refinery or occupation with exposure to benzene, oil products and other solvents may be eligible to file a benzene lawsuit. Oil rig workers, painters and people who work with pesticides are among the people most at risk of long-term benzene exposure.
How long have you been working around benzene?
People filing lawsuits have generally been working around benzene for at least a year.
What type of cancer have you been diagnosed with?
If you’ve been diagnosed with leukemia, specifically with acute myeloid leukemia, your attorney may be able to establish that your cancer was caused by exposure to benzene.
Do you have a copy of your medical records?
Your attorney will want copies of all medical records related to your leukemia diagnosis, including the results of tests used to determine your cancer diagnosis, the date of your diagnosis and any treatments you’ve been given.
Does cancer run in your family?
People who have a history of cancer in their family may be more likely to develop certain types of cancers. Providing a copy of your medical records will give your attorney a closer look at your family’s medical history.
Can you provide a list of all of the employers you have had and the positions you held at these companies?
Providing your attorney with a list of your previous and current employers can provide him or her with more information that may help them establish a connection between your leukemia and your benzene exposure.