Benzene is a known carcinogen that causes Leukemia and Blood Disorders such as Aplastic Anemia
Benzene exposure has been linked to all types of Leukemia. However, benzene is believed to cause the rarer forms including: acute myelogenous leukemia (AML) and acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL). It has also been linked to lymphoma, and rare blood diseases.
Long term exposure to benzene increases the risks of getting cancer, however cancer linked to benzene has been discovered in people exposed for less than 5 years. Workers exposed for decades are at increased risk for these rare forms of leukemia and long-term exposure may also adversely impact bone marrow and blood production.
Still other workers have been diagnosed with aplastic anemia, a group of disorders that prevent bone marrow from producing all three types of blood cells: red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets. Aplastic anemia is a very rare disease, affecting fewer than 1,000 people each year in the United States. Aplastic anemia has no known cause but has been linked to exposure to chemicals such as benzene and radiation.
All of the leukemias that are associated with benzene exposure are dangerous diseases that affect the blood and bone marrow.
The four major types of leukemia related to Benzene are:
Acute myelogenous leukemia (AML)
Acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL)
Chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML) also called chronic myeloid leukemia
Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL)
Hairy cell leukemia (HCL)
Scientists have also linked non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL), Hodgkin's disease, multiple myeloma, myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS), aplastic anemia, pancytopenia, cytopenias, myelofibrosis, and polycythemia vera to Benzene.
Dangers of Benzene and Science
A number of studies and reviews of leukemia and its relationship to Benzene exposure have been published. Researchers at the University of North Carolina School of Public Health, concluded in 1997 that benzene was linked to many forms of leukemia including acute myelogenous leukemia AML as well as acute and chronic lymphocytic and myeloid leukemia (Savitz, D., and Andrews, K.,"Review of Epidemiologic Evidence on Benzene and Lymphatic and Hematopoietic Cancers," Amer. J. Industrial Health 31:287-295 (1997).
However, Benzene has a long history in the medical literature. As early as the 1920s, Benzene was linked to leukemia in a published study. The American Petroleum Institute noted in the 1940s benzene caused leukemia noted that any level of exposure to benzene posed certain cancer risks. A major epidemiologic study conducted in1970s of workers exposed to Benzene showed an increased risk of leukemia. These scientific studies indicate workers who use solvents are at risk of developing cancer and blood diseases from exposure to benzene.
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