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Benzene is a light aromatic hydrocarbon used in large quantities to manufacture plastics and petrochemicals, and is an additive in gasoline. For many years, it was used as a solvent or ingredient in solvents, paints, cements, printing inks, glues, and other petroleum-based products. Today, benzene is not used as a solvent or as an ingredient in solvents but exists as a contaminant in petroleum hydrocarbon products, because it exists in crude oil from which products are refined.
Benzene is one of the few chemicals that is universally recognized as a human carcinogen. It causes leukemia and various blood diseases in humans. The Permissible Exposure Level established by OSHA for occupational exposure to benzene is 1 part per million on an 8-hr. time-weighted average. This is below the level at which most people can detect the aromatic odor of benzene. Epidemiologic studies have shown that cumulative exposures of benzene of 1 part per million years (a total of 1 ppm over the course of a year) are sufficient to cause leukemia and blood diseases. Because the latency period—from benzene exposure to development of leukemia or other blood diseases—varies from a few months to 30 years, when a client develops leukemia or any blood disease, their exposure history should be carefully evaluated to determine whether the client had sufficient benzene exposure to cause the disease.
Members receive an index of the group's national depository of information and may order documents and articles on all aspects of the litigation. Materials available include scientific and medical literature; reports, depositions, and trial testimony of petrochemical company employees and expert witnesses; and briefs.
Members of the group are actively litigating benzene-leukemia cases. These are very substantial cases, proof of which is very complex, requiring substantial scientific and medical evidence and much expert testimony. Several members of the group have achieved seven-figure recoveries on behalf of clients.
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