We recently posted about a study released in 1977 by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) that showed a strong association between occupational exposure to benzene and hematopoietic cancers such as Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML), Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma (NHL), and Multiple Myeloma (MM). Benzene is classified as a group 1 carcinogen (a cancer-causing substance) and a chemical component found in diesel fumes/exhaust, which many railroad workers were exposed to on a regular basis.
Since the release of the 1977 study, additional analyses, as well as new cohort studies, have shown compelling evidence that occupational exposure to benzene significantly increases the risk for other blood cancers such as Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia and Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia. Both of these cancers affect the blood and bone marrow. While Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia progresses very quickly, Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia tends to develop very slowly.
Epidemiologic studies have provided adequate support to conclude that a causal relationship exists between occupational exposure to benzene and the development of Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia and Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has acknowledged this positive association. Epidemiologic literature also shows that exposure to pesticides and solvents, both of which were commonly used on the railroad, can also increase a person’s risk of developing these types of cancers.
Occupational exposures associated with Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia and Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia were often encountered by workers in many different railroad jobs, including engineers, firemen, conductors, brakemen, carmen, trackmen, machine operators, machinists, mechanics, pipefitters, electricians, welders, laborers, signal maintainers, bridge and building workers, yardmasters, and clerks. If you or a loved one worked for the railroad and have developed cancer, please contact us to discuss your exposures and let us help you determine if you have a claim.