Benzene is a chemical compound that is found in many products made of plastic or rubber, and in gasoline, tobacco, and vehicle emissions. As a result of the use of benzene in manufacturing, the chemical can also be found in water supplies and in the air. Lawsuits have been filed as plaintiffs allege that exposure to the chemical has created health problems. The prevalence of the chemical can be found at work and at home. In most instances, the level of exposure is low enough to not cause problems. However, there may be areas of high industrialization where exposure is higher than normal. The most common sources of exposure include:
- Industrial workplaces. Those who work in industries that manufacture plastics, synthetic fibers, dyes, gasoline, and pesticides are the most at risk for benzene exposure.
- Outdoor air. Beware of smoke from wood and tobacco. Also, gas stations provide higher levels of exposure.
- Indoor air. Indoor pollutants like detergents and some household products have greatly reduced the benzene content. Tobacco smoke remains the number one indoor pollutant now.
- Water Supplies. Pollutants can contaminate water supplies.
In the workplace employers should reduce exposure to employees as much as possible. The EPA has mandated standards for appropriate levels of exposure in certain environments. Employees who suspect an injury from benzene exposure would be covered under their employer’s workers’ compensation insurance. The most common diseases from benzene exposure include:
- Cancer. In the United States benzene is known as a human carcinogen and long term exposure has been known to cause certain forms of leukemia.
- Anemia. Certain types of anemia are linked to benzene.
- Reproductive problems. Long term exposure in women has been linked to menstrual and fertility problems.
- Immune system problems have been linked to long term exposure.
Short term exposure can also be problematic for health issues. Symptoms can include dizziness, irregular heartbeat, tremors, and confusion.
Much of the litigation relating to benzene comes from the workplace and major categories include products liability and claims against the employer for unsafe working conditions. For products liability, the claims include inadequate warnings and instructions by the manufacturer. Complaints against employers surround exposure and failure to maintain a safe work environment. More recent litigation focuses on exposure linked to benzene leaks. Most of these cases involve miners and workers in the oil and gas industry.
If you want to bring a suit or claim for benzene exposure it is important to seek an attorney immediately for consultation. With torts like benzene, there may already be a class action going on and an attorney can connect you to an attorney in charge. Torts like benzene are complex cases and it is difficult to manage what needs to be done on your own.
This article is for general informational purposes only and is not to be construed as legal advice. Do not rely on the above information as all cases are different and different laws apply to different cases.
Consult an attorney in your area for further guidance. If you suspect an injury due to benzene exposure please call one of our attorneys at David K. Kremin & Associates, and we will give you a free consultation. We never charge unless we collect for you. Please call 1(800) ASK-A-LAWYER or 1(800)275-2529.