How Hurricane Harvey Increased the Risks of Benzene Exposure for Oil and Gas Workers
Petroleum refining and extraction workers are at risk of exposure to benzene, a chemical that is a byproduct of the oil refining process. In the wake of Hurricane Harvey, this risk has now increased for many petroleum industry employees. According to the Houston Chronicle, over a dozen Texas petrochemical plants reported damage to storage tanks, containment systems, and pressure relief valves, potentially releasing too much benzene into the atmosphere.
Toxic Exposure to Benzene
A sweet-smelling toxic chemical, benzene may be inhaled or absorbed through the eyes or skin. Exposure to benzene liquid or vapor can irritate the eyes, skin, and throat. Breathing in high doses of benzene can impact the nervous system, causing drowsiness, dizziness, headaches, tremors, and confusion. Long-term benzene exposure harms the bone marrow, resulting in:
- Anemia. Anemia is a low red blood cell count, leading to weakness and lethargy.
- A low white blood cell count. This lowers the body’s ability to fight infections and can be life-threatening.
- A low blood platelet count. This may lead to excess bruising and bleeding.
Types of Cancer Caused by Benzene
Based on studies of both people and lab animals, Benzene is known to cause cancer. Rates of leukemia have been found to be higher in studies of workers exposed to high levels of benzene. These cancers include:
- Acute myeloid leukemia.
- Childhood leukemia.
- Acute lymphocytic leukemia.
- Chronic lymphocytic leukemia.
- Multiple myeloma.
- Non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
Compensation for Exposure to Benzene
Toxic workplace exposure to benzene can have devastating consequences. If you’ve been affected by benzene poisoning, or diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia, multiple myeloma, or another form of cancer caused by benzene, you deserve compensation. You need an attorney who is knowledgeable about occupations impacted by benzene, and who understands the health effects of benzene products. An experienced attorney can work to determine and prove your dangerous exposure to benzene, take legal action against your employer, and pursue your claim.
To learn more, contact the law offices of Steve M. Lee, P.C., by clicking the Live Chat button on this page.
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