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New technology helps detect benzene in workplace

UV Spectroscopy is becoming a popular technology for monitoring benzene concentrations in the biochemical industry in an effort to protect employees from the detrimental effects of benzene exposure, which can lead to an aggressive form of leukemia, Engineer Live reports. More than 54,000 cases of leukemia were diagnosed in 2015, 20,000 of which were a type known as acute myeloid leukemia, or AML, according to the American Cancer Society. In many cases, this deadly disease could have been prevented. The Toxic Substance and Disease Registry linked the development of AML to recurrent exposure to benzene, a chemical widely used to ... Read More

Man sickened by benzene exposure wins fight for compensation

When Mitch LaPrade was diagnosed with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) in 2005 at the age of 44, he was floored. “My wife and I were always trying to figure out, where do you get that? We didn’t even know what leukemia was,” he told CBC. Then his doctor asked about the solvents LaPrade used to clean the presses working as a pre-press technologist at a printing plant in Ontario. Benzene is a known carcinogen, and has been linked to various forms of leukemia. LaPrade said he was never given protective clothing like gloves or masks while on the job. When ... Read More

Texas Man Claims Benzene Exposures At Work Caused Blood Disorder

A Texas man who alleges benzene exposure on the job left him with a serious blood disorder has filed a lawsuit against several petrochemical companies and other manufacturers he worked with for several years. Jack Turner and his wife Betty are seeking compensatory and punitive damages for Mr. Turner’s “consciousness of impending death,” the SE TexasRecord reports. Mr. Turner suffers from Myelodysplastic Syndrome, a form of blood disorder marked by poorly formed and/or malfunctioning blood cells. Exposure to benzene over a long period of time, even in low doses, can result in Myelodysplastic Syndrome and various other blood disorders which ... Read More

Benzene Levels in Colorado Boy’s Blood Trigger Fracking Safety Debate

A Colorado mother whose son has dangerously high levels of cancer-causing benzene in his blood says that she believes the nearby fracking wells are to blame. Elizabeth Ewaskowitz, who holds a doctorate of pharmacology and neuroscience from the University of Colorado School of Medicine in Denver, had her 6-year-old son tested for volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in his blood because they reside within a mile of 158 fracking wells. The results showed that the boy was in the 85th percentile for benzene and 72nd percentile for ethylbenzene. Chronic exposures to both the VOCs are known to cause birth defects, blood ... Read More

Shell Ordered To Pay $5 MillionTo Benzene-Polluted Community

Benzene can have a devastating impact on human health over the long term, especially to workers who are exposed to even the smallest levels of it. But the chemical can also have an extremely toxic effect on communities in proximity to oil and gas refineries, as a recent $5 million federal case shows. U.S. Judge Nancy Rosenstengel ordered Shell Oil and ConocoPhillips to settle a class action Feb. 23 brought by hundreds of people living in and around the city of Roxana, Illinois., a community just across the Mississippi River from St. Louis, Missouri. The claimants alleged that the companies ... Read More

Hunt For Benzene Contamination Source Continues In Fire-Damaged Santa Rosa

Benzene contamination continues to haunt the city of Santa Rosa, California, months after deadly wildfires consumed parts of the city. And now new tests have indicated that benzene contamination may be affecting the water supply in a larger area than previously thought. The Santa Rosa Press Democrat has been reporting on the city’s ongoing benzene problem in the Fountainhead neighborhood in the northern part of the city limits. Parts of the Fountainhead area were completely decimated by the October wildfires, especially a 184-acrea area encompassing Fountaingrove Parkway around Fir Ridge Drive. That part of the city used to be home ... Read More

Shell Chemical To Reduce Benzene, Other Pollutants at Louisiana Facility

Toxic benzene and other harmful emissions will be drastically reduced in St. Charles Parish, Louisiana, thanks to a $10 million settlement between Shell Chemical LP and federal and state authorities who accused the chemical corporation of illegally discharging tons of air pollutants. The settlement comes in the form of a consent decree requiring Shell Chemical to invest $10 million in the installation and operation of air pollution control and monitoring technology at the company’s Norco, Louisiana chemical plant. The equipment is expected to reduce annual benzene emissions by about 18 tons per year and other environmentally harmful volatile organic compounds ... Read More

Benzene Water Contamination Plagues Fire-Damaged California City

Santa Rosa, California, city officials say their “top priority” is finding the source of benzene that is poisoning the water supply in the Fountaingrove neighborhood after wildfires swept through the area and destroyed hundreds of homes. The Santa Rosa Press Democrat reports that the city’s water authorities have spent several weeks working with regulators and experts to understand why benzene, a toxic hydrocarbon commonly found in fossil fuels and plastics, is contaminating the water supply. According to the Press Democrat, those trying to understand the problem suspect that the heat of the wildfires, which destroyed about 3,000 homes in the ... Read More

Alabama Benzene Spill Site Removed From EPA Priority List

More than 50 years after a massive benzene spill released from a derailed train contaminated a South Alabama community, the federal government has removed the site from a list of one of America’s most polluted places. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said that all monitoring wells at the Perdido Groundwater Contamination Site in north Baldwin County have shown levels of benzene to be below 5 micrograms per liter five consecutive years – the target of the cleanup plan and low enough to warrant its removal from the Superfund National Priorities List. Anyone who lived in Alabama in 1965 likely ... Read More

Anadarko Benzene Spill Cleanup Underway In Colorado

Cleanup efforts are underway to remove tons of benzene contaminated soil and water from an Anadarko battery tank site in Dacono, Colorado, a community just east of Boulder. The Texas-based petroleum corporation notified the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC), the agency that regulates the state’s fossil fuels industry, of the toxic benzene spill, which it discovered when excavating an old pump earlier this month. Benzene is a cancer-causing chemical that is formed in natural processes, such as volcanoes and forest fires, but most exposures to benzene result from oil and gas production, factory waste, and other human activities. ... Read More