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Groups protest use of benzene in China after cases of leukemia reported

Wednesday, March 19th, 2014 .

Every day, Chinese factory workers arrive and begin to assemble some of the world’s most coveted items- including iPhones- and risk their life from exposure to benzene. Many electronics companies use the cancer-causing chemical in the production of their products under close supervision.

Some companies found alternative solutions to the compound in the 1950s, more than 20 years after the first link between benzene and leukemia, along with other health issues, was discovered. It wasn’t until the late 1970s that benzene’s use lessened to the monitored ways of today.

Unfortunately, accidents still occur and diseases can develop after continued exposures to benzene. The companies in China, including Samsung and Apple, claim to follow all United States regulations regarding use, exposure and handling, but nothing is foolproof.

Any work environment involving the use of benzene increases the workers’ chances of developing blood related diseases, including leukemia. Other issues, including reproductive problems, can occur.

The risks aren’t limited to those working in China. Many industries in the United States feature environments that create a greater threat of benzene exposure, including chemical plants, powerhouses and steel mills.

One of the ways to create benzene is the coke-making process where steel mill companies can capture the byproduct to sell. Employees who operate near the coke batteries, are involved in the transport or work in the facilities where the benzene is transferred can experience significant exposure to the carcinogen.

Additionally, benzene is a powerful solvent that many industrial facilities use to clean and degrease large pieces of machinery. Likewise, chemical plants may buy benzene to use in the chemicals being made and to the clean equipment.

If you or a loved one was exposed to benzene and developed leukemia, please call us. We may be able to help.

Footnotes:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2014). Facts about benzene. CDC. Retrieved March 18, 2014 from http://www.bt.cdc.gov/agent/benzene/basics/facts.asp

Gibbs, S. (2014). Apple urged to stop using harmful chemicals in its factories. The Guardian. Retrieved from http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2014/mar/12/apple-harmful-chemicals-factories-labour

Wikipedia. (2014). Benzene. Wikipedia. Retrieved March 18, 2014 from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benzene

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