Benzene is a chemical that occurs naturally and is also used in manufacturing processes. It occurs naturally in forest fires, crude oil, gasoline, and cigarette smoke. Industrial uses for benzene include plastics, resins, and synthetic fibers.
Studies on benzene exposure
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has declared that benzene causes cancer in humans. Long-term exposure (defined as exposure for one year or more) can cause leukemia, which is a cancer of the blood-forming organs. Studies have shown that workers exposed to high levels of benzene have higher rates of leukemia, and especially acute myeloid leukemia. Studies have also shown a connection between benzene exposure and acute lymphocytic leukemia in children, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, chronic lymphocytic leukemia, apalstic anemia, and other blood-related cancers.