Leukemia and Workplace Chemicals

Chronic myeloid leukemia may be associated with benzene exposure

(RxWiki News) Benzene is a chemical that's used in a number of industrial processes. People who are exposed to this chemical in the workplace may have increased cancer risks.

Exposure to benzene may be associated with an increased risk of chronic myeloid leukemia (CML).

"Make sure to wear all protective gear in the workplace."

Dutch researchers, directed by Dr. Jelle Vlaanderen of the Division of Environmental Epidemiology at Utrecht University in the Netherlands, performed a meta-analysis.

Benzene is one of the most frequently used chemicals in the U.S. It's used mainly as a solvent, but has various other uses as well.

Industries that use benzene include oil refineries, chemical plants, shoe manufacturers and gasoline-related industries. The chemical is also used to manufacture lubricants, dyes, detergents, drugs and pesticides.

Previous research has found a possible relationship between benzene and some types of blood cancers, including lymphoma, multiple myeloma and acute and chronic myeloid leukemia.

For this project, researchers analyzed a number of earlier studies which had looked at the links between benzene and acute myeloid leukemia (AML).

Researchers categorized this study data according to follow-up patterns and quality of benzene exposure to identify subgroups that may link the chemical to CML.

The scientists didn't uncover a statistically significant risk association between benzene and CML.

Nonetheless, the authors wrote, "Although limited by low statistical power, the current meta-analysis provides support for a possible association of occupational exposure to benzene and the risk of CML."

This research was published June 21 in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine.

Financial information wasn't publicly available.

Review Date: 
July 25, 2012