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benzene 247 articles

Analysts try to track steel mill’s pollutants

ArcelorMittal’s Burns Harbor steel mill along Lake Michigan about 20 miles southeast of Chicago is responsible for baking coal into high-carbon coke and processing iron ore for its blast furnaces in order to produce steel. The mill emitted nearly 18,000 pounds of toxic lead and 173,000 pounds of benzene in 2016, yet environmental regulators have no clue where those hazardous emissions are going after they are released into the air. The state of Illinois conducted an analysis of local wind patterns, which suggested the pollution could be blowing northward toward Chicago, or even southward toward Chesterton, Indiana. This summer, the ... Read More

CSX hit with several lawsuits over workplace hazards

CSX Transportation Inc., has been hit with a deluge of cancer-related lawsuits in the past year by employees who worked for the company as far back as early as 1969 through the 2000s. The latest lawsuit, filed by family members of a former CSX electrician, claims the company was negligent by failing to provide the worker with a respirator while working on and around trains. As a result, the electrician was exposed to dangerous chemicals that contributed to the development of his stomach cancer, the lawsuit claims. The family is suing for “loss of future benefits including a loss of ... Read More

Common workplace substances linked to prostate cancer risk

Four hazardous substances commonly found in workplaces have been linked to early onset prostate cancer, according to a study published in Occupational and Environmental Medicine. The study, conducted by researchers with the University of Quebec, involved about 2,000 men diagnosed with prostate cancer from 2005 to 2009. Researchers found that men who had prolonged exposure – 25 years or more – to benzene, toluene, xylene, and styrene had a significantly greater risk of developing prostate cancer. Prostate cancer is typically a slow-growing disease, which means it usually takes several years to become large enough to be detectable and takes even ... Read More

Like asbestos, benzene poses cancer risks to workers

The mineral asbestos and the chemical benzene are vastly different products widely used in industry. What they do have in common is that they are highly toxic to humans. Asbestos is a strong, fibrous, fire-resistant mineral that was widely used in building materials like insulation as well as other applications. In 1897, asbestos was linked to mesothelioma, a rare but deadly form of cancer that develops in the lining of the lungs, chest and other internal organs. It took more than a century for the U.K. to ban the use of asbestos. It is still used in the U.S., though ... Read More

Some back-to-school supplies test positive for toxic ingredients

Parents shopping for school supplies should be aware that some back-to-school items may contain or emit toxic ingredients or fumes, according to a new report by the U.S. Public Interest Research Group (PIRG). Asbestos fibers have been found embedded in the wax of some crayon brands, and some dry erase markers tested positive for carcinogenic BTEX chemicals, like benzene, xylene and toluene. In 2015, PIRG testing of many major brands of crayons revealed several – including Rose Art and Crayola – contained asbestos fibers. Asbestos is a fibrous mineral that has been linked to lung cancer and mesothelioma, a rare ... Read More

Shell agrees to clean up dangerous chemicals from LA plant

Shell Chemical LP agreed to eliminate more than 150 tons of excess emissions of harmful air pollutants including the carcinogenic chemical benzene from its chemical plant in Norco, Louisiana, in St. Charles Parish, as part of a settlement with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality (LDEQ). Shell was accused of violations of the Clean Air Act and state law for failing to properly operate industrial flares at the plant. The company also agreed to pay $350,000 in civil penalties, including $87,500 to LDEQ. The settlement in the form of a consent decree requires Shell ... Read More

Industry leader calls for higher priority of benzene in Clean Air Strategy

The detrimental health effects of benzene exposure should be central in the U.K’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs’ (Defra) Clean Air Strategy, said Steve Billingham, chief executive of Duvas Technologies, and reaffirms the importance of mandatory air quality monitoring. Duvas wrote the commentary in Air Quality News, in response to Defra’s call for responses from the industry, environmental NGOs, the health sector and general public, regarding the strategy. The draft mentions several pollutants, “however, there is little mention of other damaging pollutants that may be detrimental to human health if ignored – benzene for example,” Billingham wrote. Benzene ... Read More

MA passes bill to treat cancer like workplace injury for firefighters

After a strong push by Massachusetts firefighters unions, the Massachusetts Senate passed a bill that would treat cancer like a workplace injury for firefighters. The move is based on several studies that show that firefighters are far more likely to be diagnosed with and die from cancer than the general population. “We still haven’t seen the apex of the cancer problem,” said Jason Burns, a Fall River firefighter and president of the Fall River firefighters’ union. “It’s still going to hit us, but this is going to soften that blow.” Firefighters are 9 percent more likely than the general public ... Read More

Public health advocate urges MA town test environment for benzene

Dr. T. Stephen Jones, a public health consultant epidemiologist retired from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), presented a six-page packet to the Falmouth, Massachusetts, Board of Health hoping to convince board members to send a letter to Gov. Charles D. Baker Jr., to assess the environment based on concerns that nearby natural gas infrastructures are leaking toxic chemicals into the air and endangering the lives of Falmouth residents. “All of us think of natural gas as something that’s just part of life, and we never really gave any thought to the fact that there may be some ... Read More

New registry to track cancer risk in firefighters

President Donald Trump has signed into law the Firefighter Cancer Registry Act, designed to centralize data into a registry to help firefighters and medical professionals understand the links between cancer and firefighting in an attempt to reduce firefighters’ cancer risk and identify better treatment options. Firefighters come in contact with hazardous chemicals and materials, including benzene, asbestos and diesel exhaust. Benzene is a commonly used chemical that has been linked to adverse events. Long-term exposure to benzene has been linked to leukemia. Asbestos is a fibrous mineral that was commonly used until the 1980s in building materials including insulation. Asbestos ... Read More