Toxic Exposure from Household Chemicals May Cause Leukemia
Environmentally Released and Household Toxins May Cause Leukemia and Other Cancers
Several studies in recent years have linked chemical exposure at home and work to cases of leukemia. Children born to parents employed in certain occupations that have chemical exposures are more likely to develop the deadly disease.
Both adults and children are at risk, though it is suspected that children are more vulnerable while exposed in their developmental stages of life. Leukemia is the most common kind of cancer in children, and causes more deaths than any other form of cancer in children. These deaths represent about six percent, or 34,000 deaths annually, and are directly linked to occupational and environmental exposures to known, specific carcinogens.
Environmental contaminants and known carcinogens are used in many applications in agriculture, industry, home and garden.
Joe Lyon is a highly rated personal injury lawyer representing plaintiffs nationwide in a wide variety of toxic tort claims.
Parents Exposed to Toxins Place Children at Risk
Studies show a relationship between childhood leukemia and a parent’s workplace exposure to chemicals. Occupations such as painting, personal services industries, metal processing, textiles and motor vehicle-related occupations may significantly elevate risk because of the solvents and other toxins related to the job.
A recent study concluded that the association between childhood leukemia and paternal exposure to solvents (chlorinated solvents, benzene, carbon tetrachloride, and trichloroethylene) is “quite strong.”
Pesticide and Insecticide Exposure a Major Risk
Recent reviews have concluded that large-scale and household pesticide exposure may be a cause of leukemia. Studies show that leukemia is more prevalent among children whose parents are exposed to pesticides at work than other children.
Recently, a large study of almost 500 children found that risk was increased by home use of pesticides and by use of multiple different pesticides, such as glyphosate, the active ingredient in RoundUp.
Herbicide use during pregnancy was associated with a 50 percent increase in cancer risk and use of insecticides in the home was associated with increased cancer risk; frequent use was associated with an even higher risk.
A recent study found that children with leukemia were 11 times more likely to have mothers who were exposed to pesticide sprays during pregnancy compared to healthy children.
Benzene: a Dangerous Chemical and Known Cause of Leukemia
Rates of leukemia, particularly acute myeloid leukemia (AML), have been found to be higher in studies of workers exposed to high levels of benzene, such as those in the chemical, rubber and oil refining industries.
Compared to children of unexposed fathers, children whose fathers were occupationally exposed to benzene and alcohols used in industrial products were nearly six times as likely to develop leukemia if the exposure occurred prior to the pregnancy.
Strong evidence supporting the idea that benzene causes leukemia came from a OSHA sponsored study of benzene-exposed workers in the rubber industry. Researchers reported a significant increase in cancer clusters of leukemia in benzene-exposed workers at a rubber plant in Akron, Ohio.
Specific Substances Linked to Cancer Development
The following are examples of common environmental chemicals linked to cancer. Some are listed as known or probable carcinogens by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), part of the World Health Organization, or by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA):
• Bisphenol A (BPA)
• Chromium Hexavalent compounds
• Polybrominated diphenylethers (PBDEs)
• Polycyclicaromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs)
• Vinyl Chloride
What is Leukemia?
Leukemia is any cancer of the blood cells that generally begins as a cancer in the bone marrow. A victim’s marrow begins to produce large numbers of abnormal white blood cells—cells that do not fight infection, and grow faster and larger than healthy white blood cells. It, like other cancers, can spread to lymph nodes, organs and tissues throughout the body.
Types of Leukemia Caused by Toxic Exposure
- Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia (ALL) can occur in adults or children, but typically occurs in children. It makes up about 90 percent of childhood cases, and only around 20 percent of adult cases. ALL is suspected of commonly caused by solvents, glues, paints, petroleum, or rubber.
- Acute Myelogenous Leukemia (AML) is linked most closely with chemical exposures, especially benzene and other solvents .
Who is Most at Risk of Toxic Exposure Related Leukemia?
Developing cancer after chemical exposure depends on the following factors:
• The kind of chemical or toxin in question
• The length and intensity of exposure
• A person’s general health
• Age: very young and much older people are at greater risk
• Genetics: family history of cancer may assume a greater risk
Some leukemias are triggered by environmental factors such as toxic exposure, at home or work. If you have leukemia, particularly if you are or were employed in manufacturing or industry, you should investigate whether exposure to a toxic product may have increased your risk for the disease.
If you or a loved one suffered an injury due toxic material exposure and have questions about the legal remedies available to improve quality of life and medical care, contact The Lyon Firm (800) 513-2403. You will speak directly with Mr. Lyon, and he will help you answer these critical questions.
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