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What is Benzene?

Benzene is a known carcinogen that causes leukemia.

Benzene is a chemical that is often used in the manufacturing of rubber, paint, plastics, resins, drugs, pesticides, synthetics, and other products. Benzene is also present in gasoline and tobacco smoke.

Benzene Exposure

Benzene exposure is most likely to occur among workers in facilities that use the chemical in their products.

Benzene can enter the environment through spills, accidental releases, volcanic eruptions, and forest fires.

Benzene exposure levels that have been associated with cancer have ranged from from less than 5 years to people exposed for more than 30 years.

What is Leukemia?

Leukemia's are types of cancer that affect the blood and bone marrow.

The four major types of leukemia are:

  • Acute myelogenous leukemia (AML)
  • Acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL)
  • Chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML)
  • Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL)
  • Hairy cell leukemia (HCL)

Scientists have also linked other diseases to benzene. These diseases are:

  • non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL)
  • Hodgkin's disease
  • multiple myeloma
  • myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS)
  • aplastic anemia
  • pancytopenia
  • cytopenias
  • myelofibrosis
  • polycythemia vera

Benzene and Science

A number of recent 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 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).

Scientific studies indicate that workers who use benzene solvents are at risk of developing cancer and blood diseases from exposure to benzene.


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