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Too bad modern companies aren’t better at protecting their workers.

Benzene is an industrial chemical once used as a gasoline additive and now often used to make plastics, nylon, rubber, dyes and other common household materials. It has fallen out of use in some industries because scientists now realize that benzene is a carcinogen; it causes a rare type of bone cancer, acute myeloid leukemia (also known as acute myelogenous leukemia), as well as more common types of leukemia. Benzene has also been associated with anemia, immune deficiency and infertility in women.

Though exposure to large amounts of benzene does sicken victims, the health effects of benzene are often worse in people who have been repeatedly exposed to small amounts over a long period of time. In some cases, a benzene-related illness can show up a decade or more after the exposure.

Benzene Exposure Symptoms

Symptoms of benzene exposure often look like the flu at first. They include:

  • Excessive bleeding
  • Bruising easily
  • Bone and joint pain
  • Enlarged spleen
  • Feeling easily fatigued
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Irregular menstrual periods in women

People who work in manufacturing or the petroleum industry are at risk for occupational exposure to benzene. Even though the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration has set rules limiting workers’ exposure to one part per million in a normal work week, not all employers comply; the agency estimated that more than 200,000 American workers were exposed to unsafe levels of benzene in 1987, but has not kept records since. In addition, benzene is sometimes found in the water and soil around us, due to contamination from factories, underground gas tanks and other industrial uses.

Again, this is illegal; federal and state laws prohibit environmental contamination or “dumping.” However, some companies prefer to place profits above the safety of their neighbors, with horrifying results.

Leukemia is a devastating, life-threatening disease. It can also be a very expensive one for ordinary South Carolinians, who may not have the insurance coverage they need to get the best possible treatment. If you or someone you love has contracted a serious illness because of someone else’s irresponsible use of environmental toxins, you have the right to take them to court. You may be able to win money covering your past and future medical treatment, your emotional anguish and other damages, as well as punitive damages designed to punish those who ignore safety laws.

If you think you or someone you care about has been exposed to benzene, you should speak to The Louthian Firm Accident & Injury Lawyers’s personal injury attorneys immediately. Because benzene exposure builds up over time and may not be diagnosed right away, you may not have much time to consider a lawsuit before the statute of limitations runs out. Working with doctors, The Louthian Firm Accident & Injury Lawyers can help you investigate the causes of your illness, identify co-workers, neighbors or others in the same situation, and get you the worker’s compensation you need to treat this serious health hazard. For a free evaluation of your case, fill out our online form, or call us today Toll free at 803-592-6231.

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