Chronic Myeloid Leukemia (CML) is a blood cancer that is more common in mechanics and other workers who use the toxic chemical benzene. Studies estimate the risk of CML triples for people who are exposed to benzene for 15 years or more.
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What is Benzene?
Benzene is a toxic chemical that has a wide variety of industrial uses. It is naturally found in petroleum and crude oil, but benzene is also added to gasoline. It is mostly used as a base or starter chemical in solvents (degreasers, cleaning agents, etc.), paint, glue, asphalt, calibrating fluid, lighter fluid, rubber cement, ink, pesticides, and more.
Benzene and Chronic Myeloid Leukemia
Benzene evaporates quickly and accumulates in the bones of people who breathe it in the air. Benzene exposure is known to cause Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML). Low-level exposure is not linked to Chronic Myeloid Leukemia (CML), but high-level benzene exposure is estimated to increase the risk of CML by at least 23% after 10-15 years.
Decades of Evidence Linking Benzene and CML
The first study linking benzene and CML was not published until 1975, when 8 cases of CML were reported among rubber workers. In 1988, a study in Sweden reported 33 cases of CML and estimated a 50% increased risk of leukemia among motor mechanics who used benzene.
Even higher rates of CML have been observed in recent studies. In 2003, a study in China found a 3.3-fold increased risk of CML in workers who were exposed to benzene for 15 years or more.
What is Chronic Myeloid Leukemia?
Chronic Myeloid Leukemia (CML) is a type of cancer that occurs when blood-making cells in the bone marrow produce too many white blood cells. It typically affects adults over 40 and progresses slowly. CML is also called chronic myelogenous leukemia or chronic granulocytic leukemia.
Warning Signs of Chronic Leukemia
CML may not cause symptoms in its early stages. When symptoms do appear, it is because leukemia cells are crowding out healthy cells and the bone marrow is not making enough blood cells or platelets.
The symptoms of CML are vague and easily misdiagnosed or ignored. Some patients have pain in their bones or joints due to leukemia cells spreading from the bone marrow to the surface of the bones or joints.
Symptoms of CML
- Shortness of breath
- Night sweats
- Weight loss
- Bone pain
- Enlarged spleen (under the left side of the ribcage)
- Pain or “fullness” in the belly
- Feeling full after eating a small amount of food
Long-Term Complications of CML
Leukemia cells are abnormal because they grow uncontrollably and do not fight infections very well. People with CML have a very high risk of developing serious bacterial infections. Some people also develop problems with bleeding, bruising, or frequent and severe nosebleeds.
CML is diagnosed with a blood test that shows abnormal blood cell counts. Over time, it will cause anemia (shortage of red blood cells), leukopenia (shortage of white blood cells), neutropenia (shortage of neutrophils), and thrombocytopenia (shortage of blood platelets).
Need a Chronic Myeloid Leukemia Lawyer in Texas?
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