Benzene is a toxic industrial chemical that is known to cause cancer. Auto mechanics and other workers are especially likely to be exposed to benzene and develop Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) and Myelodysplastic Syndrome (MDS).
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Benzene Cancer Lawsuit Filed by Auto Mechanic
In February 2018, a lawsuit was filed by an auto mechanic in Illinois who was diagnosed with cancer (multiple myeloma) after decades of working in repair shops where he was exposed to benzene and other toxic chemicals in gasoline, diesel fuel, parts washer solvent, paint, belt dressing, and other products. The lawsuit was filed in Cook County Circuit Court in Illinois — Case No. 2016-L001056.
What is Benzene?
Benzene is a colorless, sweet-smelling, flammable chemical that evaporates quickly when exposed to the air. It is a common industrial chemical that is found in a wide range of products, such as solvents (cleaning agents or degreasers, for example), lubricants, paint, plastics, resins, rubber, detergents, insecticides, and more. It is found naturally in crude oil, gasoline, vehicle exhaust, and cigarette smoke.
The main way people are exposed to benzene is by breathing it in the air, but benzene can also be absorbed through the skin. Benzene can also contaminate drinking water and cause side effects. The highest exposures are in the workplace, such as auto mechanic repair shops.
Side Effects of Benzene Exposure
Benzene is an air pollutant that is known to cause a large number of health problems, including leukemia, nerve and immunity impairment, reproductive and developmental side effects, and many more.
- Short-Term Side Effects: Breathing high doses of benzene can cause drowsiness, dizziness, headaches, tremors, confusion, unconsciousness. Skin exposure can cause irritation, redness or blisters.
- Long-Term Side Effects: Prolonged exposure to benzene mainly causes side effects in the blood and bone marrow. This can result in anemia and low white blood cell count, which reduces the body’s ability to fight off infections.
Does Benzene Cause Cancer?
Yes. Long-term exposure to benzene is known to cause several types of leukemia, particularly Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML). Some studies have also found higher rates of leukemia and blood disorders, such as:
- Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML)
- Myelodysplastic Syndrome (MDS)
- Multiple Myeloma
- Chronic Myeloid Leukemia (CML)
- Aplastic anemia
- Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma
What is Acute Myeloid Leukemia?
Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) is a type of cancer that starts in the bone marrow (the soft inner part of certain bones). It causes the bones to make abnormal blood cells that do not work very well and crowd out healthy cells, which reduces the body’s ability to fight off infections. The symptoms may include:
- Shortness of breath
- Bruising or bleeding
- Flat red spots under the skin caused by bleeding
- Feeling tired
- Weight loss
- Loss of appetite
Texas Jury Awards $8.2 Million in Benzene Exposure Lawsuit
In October 2015, a jury in Dallas awarded $8.2 million to a 60 year-old man from Texas who was diagnosed with leukemia after he was exposed to benzene in paint and paint thinners made by DuPont.
The lawsuit was filed by Virgil Hood, a man who was exposed to benzene when he worked as a painter for Continental Airlines from 1973 to 1996. Lawyers say DuPont knew benzene exposure caused leukemia by the late 1960s, but failed to warn about the hazards.
Mr. Hood was diagnosed with myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) and acute myeloid leukemia (AML) in 2012. He underwent chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant that resulted in severe complications.
The lawsuit is Virgil Hood v. E.I. DuPont De Nemours — Case No. DC-13-03619-H, in Dallas County District Court.
$180 Million Benzene Lawsuit Settlement at Texas Refinery
BP Products North America Inc. paid a $180 million benzene lawsuit settlement with the U.S. government in 2009. The lawsuit was filed over benzene emissions at a refinery in Texas City, Texas where a catastrophic explosion in 2005 killed 15 people and injured 170 others.
St. Louis Benzene Lawsuits
Attorneys in St. Louis, Missouri have filed lawsuits on behalf of many people who were exposed to benzene in a variety of ways, but primarily emissions from the Wood River Refinery in Roxana, Illinois. The refinery is located just a few miles away from St. Louis.
For example, one lawsuit was filed by the family of Derrick Dean Coffman, a man who died of Acute Myelogenous Leukemia (AML) after living near Wood River refineries from 1999-2004 — Case No. 12-L-2083.
In another lawsuit, a man named Jack Brown was diagnosed with Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia (ALL) after decades of benzene exposure. He lived near the refinery from 1968-1986 and also worked as a bus driver and mechanic — Case No. 11-L-1008
Need a Benzene Lawyer in Texas?
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