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“Working on the railroad” is not only a quintessential American folk song, but it is also one of the most dangerous occupations in America. A railroad worker is subject to harsh working conditions whether it be the climate, the equipment, or out sized expectations of managers on a depleted work force. To this list of the difficulties of being a railroad worker, you can add exposure on the job to toxic chemicals and solvents. Included in this toxic brew is benzene.
Benzene is a dangerous environmental toxin used in the manufacture of plastics, detergents, pesticides and other chemicals. The federal government named benzene a hazardous air pollutant based on evidence suggesting that exposure to the chemical was linked to certain cancers, particularly leukemia.
Short-term exposure to benzene can cause drowsiness, headaches, unconsciousness, or irritation of the eyes, skin, or respiratory tract. Benzene becomes more dangerous when you are subjected to prolonged exposure.
Railroad workers are particularly susceptible to benzene exposure as a result of prolonged exposure to the use of solvents. Another area of susceptibility that railroad workers have to benzene is through breathing in diesel fumes, because diesel contains benzene. Benzene can also be found in other petroleum fuels, including unleaded automobile gasoline.
Railroad workers’ potential exposure to benzene can also come from vapors from leaks and leaking valves, vapors emanating from past spills in the rail yard, vapors permeating the yard, or accidents.
Diseases which are associated with benzene exposure include:
If you are a railroad worker who has suffered the effects of benzene from being exposed to this toxic chemical, you may be entitled to compensation under the Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA). Call me at the law office of Williams Cedar at 215-557-0099 for a free consultation, or contact me online.