September 2014

BENZENE: THE SILENT KILLER

PDF

Merchant seamen can be regularly exposed to hazardous fumes and vapors aboard ship. Aromatic hydrocarbons can cause a number of physical disorders and with enough exposure can kill. Perhaps the best known of these hydrocarbons is benzene. It is particularly prevalent in petroleum tankers carrying crude oil and other similar products. The cargo tanks carrying these products often vent on deck and it is difficult to avoid breathing them. Exposure can cause abnormal blood cell production and result in such disease as leukemia or myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS). Seamen working on such tankers are often required to be tested for these problems and receive a "benzene card" indicating that they have been tested and cleared. Beware of these exposures and get regular check ups if you work aboard petroleum tankers!

QUESTION FROM THE BRIDGE

I have worked as a licensed engineer on dry cargo ships for over 22 years. Used lots of solvents and degreasers during that time. Any chance of acquiring a blood disorder from this work?
Richard D. NY.

Answer:
Richard,
Unfortunately, hydrocarbon products, such as benzene, can attack the human system by both inhalation and dermal (skin) contact. If you have to use these solvents and degreasers be sure to always use gloves, skin and respiratory protection!

About Our Law Firm

For more than four decades, merchant mariners, longshoremen, fishermen and harbor workers plying their trades at sea, on the docks, on our U.S. coastal waters and inland waterways have turned to the maritime law firm of Lyle C. Cavin, Jr. & Associates in Oakland. Today, we are proud to be recognized as one of the preeminent maritime law firms serving injured marine workers nationwide, as well as one of the most successful personal injury litigation firms serving victims of negligence in the San Francisco Bay Area and throughout the West Coast.

Team Approach to Every Personal Injury and Jones Act Claim

When you retain Lyle C. Cavin, Jr. & Associates with a Jones Act injury claim or personal injury claim, you don't get just one attorney, you get our entire team of dedicated professionals. Our attorneys offer more than 150 combined years of courtroom and negotiated claims settlement experience. We will represent your interests with unwavering dedication, speed and expertise.