Exposure to benzene can be dangerous. Workers who are regularly exposed to benzene are prone to a number of serious health problems. There are regulations in place designed to limit the exposure of individuals to benzene. When these regulations are not obeyed, the results can be tragic.
Workers who were exposed to benzene and were later diagnosed with blood cancers like leukemia or non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma are filing lawsuits against manufacturers. Some have earned millions of dollars in compensation for their suffering. We are currently investigating potential Benzene lawsuits.
Benzene is a colorless liquid chemical compound that is generally found in oil, gasoline, cigarette smoke and vehicle emissions, and is a byproduct of the burning of coal. However, Benzene is most commonly used in the manufacturing of certain plastic and rubber products.
People can be exposed to benzene in a wide variety of settings including, but not limited to:
Though low levels of benzene exposure is not proven to cause health problems, industrial workers or people that live near sites where high levels of benzene can be found may be exposed to unsafe levels of the chemical.
Benzene is used in the manufacturing of plastics, nylon, synthetic fibers, detergents, pesticides and other chemicals. Industries that tend to use high levels of benzene include plastics and rubber manufacturing, oil refineries, chemical plants, shoe manufacturers and gasoline related industries. People who work in these industries run a significantly higher risk of being exposed to dangerous levels of benzene.
Long Term Exposure
Short Term Exposure
Beginning in the mid-1990’s up until the present day, lawsuits involving benzene exposure have surged. The vast majority of these suits fall under three types: occupational exposure (exposure at work), claims based on benzene leaks, and suits filed over the presence of benzene in soft drinks.
Exposure at Work
The first lawsuits involving benzene exposure emerged from occupational exposure. In these types of suits, a worker or group of workers allege that long-term exposure on the job has cause illnesses such as cancer or anemia. The usual claims in these types of cases include:
Exposure from Benzene Leaks
These lawsuits are brought on behalf of people who have been exposed to benzene through leaks or spills on products that contain the chemical. An example of this type of claim would be when an underground storage tank containing oil or gasoline leaks into the water supply of nearby neighborhoods, and residents claim that the contaminated water or even airborne benzene causes serious health issues, prompting a multitude of individual lawsuits.
Exposure from Soft Drinks
The last type of suit is brought against beverage manufacturers over the presence of certain soft drink ingredients. These suits cite that under specific light and heat conditions, benzoate salts (sodium or potassium benzoate) in the drinks combine with ascorbic acids (Vitamin C) to form unsafe levels of benzene according to consumer product safety guidelines. These lawsuits have prompted several defendant soft drink makers (such as PepsiCo and Coca Cola) to reformulate some of their products.
In recent years, a number of lawsuits have been filed by plaintiffs who allege that benzene exposure has caused serious health problems, even some deaths. Some notable Benzene cases include:
Rust-Oleum, Turtle Wax Benzene Lawsuit (Benzene Leaks)
A woman from Wood River, Illinois was diagnosed with lymphoma after being exposed to benzene leaks into the air and spills into the groundwater from Rust-Oleum and Turtle Was manufacturing plants. As a result of the lymphoma, she has suffered pain, massive medical expenses and chemotherapy treatment. She is seeking more than $50,000 in damages and requested a trial by jury.
Railroad Worker Benzene Exposure Lawsuit (Occupational Exposure, Unsafe Working Conditions)
A railroad worker in Illinois was exposed to creosote and benzene daily for years which caused him to develop acute myeloid leukemia, according to his doctor. The man was responsible for picking up and dropping off railroad ties, which were “soaking wet” with creosote, which contains benzene. After complaining to his bosses, his lawyers say he was eventually given a hard hat and gloves – safety equipment which would do little to no good in protecting against benzene exposure. His lawsuit was filed in December, 2010, and the man was awarded $7.5 million in damages and medical expenses.