How benzene exposure can lead to leukemia

By Michael Bartlett

Posted on December 29th, 2021

Medical studies found that frequent benzene exposure can increase the risk of leukemia by up to 40%. Benzene was shown to cause chromosome changes in bone marrow in laboratory studies, which are usually the hallmark of leukemia.

As a blood cancer, leukemia also takes a heavy toll on the bone marrow and the lymphatic system. While some kinds of leukemia are more common in adults, others are more frequently encountered in children. Leukemia develops when the DNA of developing blood cells, primarily white ones, is severely damaged. Subsequently, this causes the blood cells to grow and divide chaotically. As a consequence, healthy blood cells die, whereas new cells replace them. The process occurs in the bone marrow, where roughly 95% of the blood cells are formed.

By the end of 2021, over 61,000 people will receive a diagnosis of leukemia across the country. In other words, every day, 167 Americans find out they have this cancer. To be even more specific, once every 4 minutes, a person in the U.S. is diagnosed with leukemia. It is the most frequently encountered cancer in children and teenagers younger than 20. While acute leukemias progress rapidly, chronic leukemias generally spread more slowly throughout the body. There are 4 main types of leukemia, namely:

  • acute myeloid leukemia
  • chronic myeloid leukemia
  • acute lymphoblastic leukemia
  • chronic lymphocytic leukemia

It is essential to know that, if you want to file a benzene sunscreen claim, you can do so only for acute myeloid leukemia. When it comes to what causes leukemia, the answer is not entirely known by medical researchers, which is the case with nearly any cancer. However, several key risk factors have been identified whose presence in your life might place you at a higher risk of developing leukemia. Among these risk factors there are the following:

  • a genetic predisposition
  • Down syndrome
  • human T-lymphotropic virus
  • human immunodeficiency virus
  • exposure to chemicals such as benzene
  • exposure to artificial ionizing radiation
  • undergoing alkylating chemotherapy
  • smoking tobacco
  • the use of certain hair dyes

As you have probably noticed, benzene exposure is among the important risk factors for leukemia. Benzene, a petrochemical, is a known carcinogen, which means that regular exposure to it can result in cancer. Roughly 20% of benzene exposure in our country stems from diesel exhaust and industrial emissions, whereas 50% of it comes from cigarette smoke. All health organizations classify benzene as hazardous to human health, so there is no doubt that the chemical can wreak havoc on our bodies. One way it can damage our health is by causing leukemia.

Benzene exposure may increase the risk of chronic myeloid leukemia by 23%

A study measured leukemia risk from low exposure to benzene. The researchers examined the medical histories of 25,000 oil rig workers. Every worker spent time on off-shore rigs for at least 20 days. The study found that the leukemia risk was high even with a low benzene exposure level. Furthermore, another research revealed that people exposed to benzene were 3 times more likely to develop acute myeloid leukemia. Lastly, a study found a 7 times higher increase in acute non-lymphocytic leukemia risk in individuals exposed to benzene.

In another study, researchers examined 15 previous benzene exposure scientific articles. They estimated there was a 40% average risk of leukemia from benzene exposure. The study also found a connection between higher exposure to benzene and a higher risk of leukemia. They discovered that the risk doubled for people with the greatest benzene exposure. In the case of a person exposed to benzene, the decrease in blood cells can be seen within a few months following exposure. Nevertheless, there is a lag time of several years between the initial benzene exposure and the development of leukemia.

The strongest evidence supporting the idea that benzene was a leukemogen, which means that exposure to it can induce leukemia, came from Vigliani and Aksoy's studies before the Occupational Safety and Health Administration decided to sponsor a new study. The research focused on workers exposed to benzene in the rubber industry, and the goal of the study was to demonstrate whether negative health consequences could be observed in American employees. The endeavors of the agency were rewarded when the researchers found a significant increase in myeloid leukemias in workers exposed to benzene at a rubber plant in Akron, Ohio.

When it comes to benzene exposure from sunscreen, you may think that it is not a big deal, as compared to workers who encountered the chemical in large concentrations, the level of toxic exposure is low. Nonetheless, with frequent use, benzene from sunscreen accumulates in your body, being able to trigger a life-threatening disease such as acute myeloid leukemia over the years. Benzene can be highly toxic and remains a human carcinogen even in low concentrations. There is no safe exposure to benzene. Consequently, we strongly advise you to cease using your benzene-contaminated sunscreen and replace it with a safe alternative as soon as possible, as wearing sunscreen is essential in protecting yourself from skin cancer and other damages ultraviolet radiation can cause to your skin.

File your benzene sunscreen claim with the expert assistance of our lawyers

If you developed acute myeloid leukemia as a consequence of using benzene sunscreen, we advise you to get in touch with our legal staff, as we specialize in toxic exposure, and thereby have what it takes to help you obtain the financial compensation you deserve from the liable manufacturer. To initiate the legal process, which will be easy for you, you just have to call us, explain your situation, answer our questions, and send our legal experts documents such as your medical records.

After our attorneys examine your case, you will know whether you qualify for filing a benzene sunscreen claim. If you do, we will quickly begin preparing it for submission. During this time, you can go on with your life as usual, as your participation in the process will be minimal after we get what is necessary from you in the beginning, so you can fully focus on your health and treatment. In the end, you will benefit from the money you deserve.