Scientists Again Confirm Benzene Causes Blood Cancers
Compound Found In Various Products Linked to Increased Leukemia, Myelodysplastic Syndrome and non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma Risks
Benzene exposure is a well-established risk factor for myeloid malignancies, including acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS). Scientists have considered other chemicals to which exposure has been associated with such malignancies. These connections lack the extensive research benzene has, however.
Several Minnesota-based cancer researchers addressed this imbalance in 2016 and published a study detailing cancer risks connected not only to benzene exposure but to other chemicals encountered both residentially and occupationally.
The study, “Chemical exposures and risk of acute myeloid leukemia and myelodysplastic syndromes in a population based study (Poynter),” found not only the expected connections between benzene and myeloid diseases, but also links those malignancies to vinyl chloride, soot, creosote and other chemical exposures.
The Poynter researchers identified 420 AML cases and 265 MDS cases using the Minnesota Cancer Surveillance System, a population-based registry which collects information on all cancers diagnosed in the state. They also recruited 698 state residents acting as controls.
Scientists collected chemical exposure data through self-administered questionnaires which asked participants about their demographics, lifestyle factors, physical activity, medication use, medical history, reproductive history, family cancer history, pesticide exposure, residential and occupational chemical exposure and other factors.
As many other studies elsewhere have done, the Poynter researchers found a significant association between both AML and MDS diagnosis and benzene exposure. They linked fewer than five years of benzene exposure with AML alone, and exposure equal to or greater than five year with both AML and MDS.
Benzene is an aromatic hydrocarbon compound used in the manufacture of plastics, resins and dyes and many other products. Numerous scientific studies detail benzene’s various adverse health effects, including causing acute myeloid leukemia, myelodysplastic syndrome, and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. The 14th Report of Carcinogens published by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ National Toxicology Program states benzene is known to be a human carcinogen based on sufficient carcinogenicity evidence.
“Occupational exposure to benzene and other solvents is one of the most consistently observed risk factors for myeloid malignancy,” the Poynter researchers state.
The scientists also found an association between AML/MDS diagnoses and vinyl chloride exposure. Vinyl chloride is a colorless gas used to make polyvinyl chloride (PVC), which is used in many products including pipes, wires, cable coatings and packaging materials. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services determined vinyl chloride is a likely human carcinogen.
If you believe your recent acute myeloid leukemia, myelodysplastic syndrome or non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma diagnosis might be related to your occupational or environmental exposure to chemicals, please contact the trial attorneys of Allen Stewart, P.C. The firm has decades of combined experience in helping those who have developed cancer due to toxic exposure.