For decades, hazardous waste - including benzene-containing petroleum products, such as diesel fuel and gasoline, was directly discharged at U.S. military bases contaminating soil, groundwater, and air and resulting in environmental pollution with potentially serious health consequences for military residents their family members living with them.
Synthetic PFAS-containing foams, industrial solvents, dry cleaning fluids, potentially radioactive chemicals, lead, fuel, and other toxic waste seeped into the ground until slowly, over time, seeping into the groundwater. Benzene is extremely hazardous in inhalation, ingestion, or absorption through the skin, leading to blood disorders ranging from anemia to leukemia.
Benzene exposure increases the risk of developing leukemia and other blood disorders
Veterans who lived and worked on military installations were exposed to harmful contaminants. Benzene was among them. Studies show that benzene exposure can increase the risk of certain cancers, including leukemia - cancer caused by an overproduction of damaged white blood cells, by as much as 40 percent.
Environmental benzene exposure has been associated with a range of acute and long-term adverse health effects and diseases, including cancer. The IARC has classified benzene as carcinogenic to humans, based on sufficient evidence that the organic chemical compound causes multiple types of leukemia, including:
- acute myelogenous leukemia (AML)
- acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL)
- chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL)
According to the Department of Medicine at Weill Medical College at the Methodist Hospital of Houston, acute myelogenous leukemia has been proven to be caused by benzene. In fact, in certain cases, our experts can pinpoint genetic damage in patients with acute myelogenous leukemia consistent with past benzene exposures. In addition, evidence obtained from laboratory animal studies have shown low birth weights, delayed bone formation, and bone marrow damage when pregnant animals breathed in benzene.