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Did anyone work in the printing industry or cleaning business where Benzene was used?

tall floridian's picture
tall floridian
Posts: 95
Joined: Dec 2011

I recently was reading online a report about the effects of inhaling Benzene over a long period of time. Seems that printer's ink contained benzene and the cleaning chemical used on printing presses also. I have worked in the printing industry for many many years and always wondered about those chemicals, if they have had any affect on my getting 4th stage lymphoma cancer.

I am currently contacting a law firm that handles benzene cases to see if there's any chance of receiving compensation from my many years working with that chemical,and will report back here with any results that I receive. I don't know if benzene is still being used in any form in any industries throughout the USA but will report back if I get any more information from the law firm.

Rocquie's picture
Posts: 857
Joined: Mar 2013

Hi Steve. . .always great to hear from you. If I am not mistaken, benzene is used in many, many things--plastics, detergents, nylon, gasoline, pesticides and many others. It is probably still easy to purchase. Cancer never ceased manufacturing. Even FDA warnings right on the side of cigarette packages don't stop people from smoking. 

Good luck with the attorney and I'm glad you have been able to get on top of your lymphoma in order to enjoy those baby girls!

Your friend,



allmost60's picture
Posts: 3184
Joined: Jul 2010

Hi Steve,

 I didn't work in the printing field, but did work with chemicals on a daily basis back in the 80's. I worked as a groundskeeper for our local school district and used diesel, roundup, caseron, fertilizers and some heavy duty weed killers, such as Pramatol, which was eventually banned from the market in the late 80's, early 90's. I would go home soaked in diesel after burning in the grass lines for the football fields, as so with the pramatol. I'd walk acres of playgrounds spraying the fencelines for weeds using pramatol...most of the time barefoot in the heat of the summer with no protective clothing on. Back then, nobody told us this stuff can cause cancer. I'd bet my next Social Security check that I got my cancer from all of the chemicals I was exposed to. Good luck, and let us know what you find out.  Sue

Follicular NHL-stg3-grd2-typA-Dx 6-10- age 63) relapsed April 2014.

Posts: 1
Joined: May 2019

was wondering if you ever went further with the law suit for the benzene in printing ink. My father was diagnosed with luekemia at the age of 71 and he worked at a printing press most his life.

Posts: 1
Joined: Jun 2019

My father was in same industry for 40 years. He was diagnosed with aml at age 78. We sued the police Bj industry and was compensated but not much at all. He clearly got amp from benzene. Doctors knew quickly.  My dad lasted about one year in light chemo and then it came back and he passed away. I wish we could take the print industry down. 

Posts: 709
Joined: Jan 2017

Benzene is a very common substance not unique to printing. It has been widely used for many decades as a cleaning solvent, in paint, gasoline, diesel, rocket fuel, glue, tanned leather, carpet, foam padding, plastics, cosmetics and even in lighter fluid for the old style cigarette lighters. Benzene hasbeen detedted on Mars.  If your father used a Zippo then you were exposed to benzene. That lighter fluid used to clean up oil /paint from your hands was benzene. It is all around us. One interesting use was as an additive to diesel fuel/gasoline to make Molotov cocktails more explosive. It is a component of all gasoline (20%) and as much as 80% in drag racer car fuel. No doubt it is a dangerous substance to be exposed to. And, in a bizarre sense, it is organic and natural. Its present in crude oil, tar, coal and shale. It is one of the basic building blocks of organic chemistry. Being mortal is such a shame.

Almost70now's picture
Posts: 37
Joined: May 2019

I used diesel to burn in the yard lines on the football fields all over our local school district. 1985-1990. We burned the lines in August to be ready for the games in the fall. Then before each game we would walk and fill in the lines with lime to make them white and show up clearly. I used concentrated round up mixed with diesel to kill the weeds down miles of fencelines around the district without wearing protective clothing. I can't count the galons of roundup I would used in the spring and summer. Four years ago I submitted my information to the Round Up class action law suit against Monsanto and was accepted and given a lawyer. The law firm keeps me posted on the staus of the suit, but I'm not holding my breath for a settlement anytime soon. Monsanto is slowly settling suits with stage 4 cancer victims and since I'm stage 3 and in remission I doubt I'm very high on the list. But....doing something is better than nothing and it just makes me feel better knowing Monsanto is paying in some way. I'm totally convinced my Follicular NHL was caused by the chemicals I was exposed to. Received a letter last week saying Monsanto has paid dozens more suits, so maybe they will start paying a little faster. We will see.

Sue...FNH-grade2-typeA-stage3-diagnosed June 2010- relapsed 4 times-currently in remission.


po18guy's picture
Posts: 1222
Joined: Nov 2011

Benzene is in gasoline. It is part of the refining process.

Bill1958's picture
Posts: 67
Joined: Feb 2018

Cool topic.  After my DX, and right up until today, I have thought about what event of exposure got in me and caused this dlbcl?  Benzene, round-up, herbicide, pesticide, fungicide, Love Canal, walking the railroad tracks, and more.  I have gone so far as to report pollution from weed killer to the DEC and more.  They actually checked the MSDS sheets(a record of toxity in any substance used by said company) from the specific company and found everything in order.  That is the company had either not polluted or manipulated the MSDS sheets to show that they hadn't.   I worked in a job that used MSDS sheets for 17 years and not once did I find these sheets up-to-date or in  proper form or within regulation unless it was inspection time.  I really don't think any of us will find the actual culpret except maybe by accident or circumstances different than now.  But I think it is crucial that we keep delving into it as we might just figure something good out of all of it.

Posts: 709
Joined: Jan 2017

1). Only one lymphocyte needs to be altered. It will then endlessly clone itself unaided. I assume only one molecule of the supposed carcinogen is required. If so exposure could go unnoticed. I think this may happen frequently but our immune systems destroy the affected lymphocyte. Occasionally one gets through and begins the cloning process.

2). All these diseases were around long before modern chemicals were produced. Maybe there are hoards of naturally occuring carcinogens, benzene being but one.

3). Maybe our bodies are pre-programmed to self destruct and lymphoma is just one of many mechanisms by which this is accomplished.

In any case, being mortal is da*# inconvenient.

Almost70now's picture
Posts: 37
Joined: May 2019

Hi guys,

  I went to a Lymphoma conference in Seattle about 6 years ago. We were split in groups according to our Lymphoma subtype's. I was in the room with all the Follicular subtypes. The doctor asked us to raise our hands if we had worked with chemicals such as roundup, fertilizers and various other chemicals. Over 90% of the room raised their hands. Next he asked us to raise our hands if we worked in agriculture, farmed, or had been groundkeepers. Again 90% of the room raised their hands. He said long term studies, 10 years or better, have proven higher cases of Follicular Lymphoma in folks that have worked with chemicals or worked in some capacity with prolonged contact to chemicals. He had a map where it showed different regions with a higher level of cancer rates, especially in farming or agriculture areas. Who knows if all the chemicals we are exposed to is the culpret or not, but when a room full of 100 or so people all have the same disease and all worked in the same field, it sure made me wonder. I'm just glad the district I worked for now requires their groundkeepers to be trained and certified to use these chemicals. They also require complete head to toe protective clothing while spraying....better late than never. But also...I often wonder how all the sprays and chimicals they use affects the children. They play on the grass that has been sprayed and fertilized...use the ball diamonds where the dirt is filled with caseron to keep the weeds out...play weekly football games on fields where the yard lines are painted or lined with lime and sprayed with diesel. It takes years for the Follicular subtype to manifest itself but if you knotice people are getting younger and younger with this cancer that is usually seen in older people. I don't know...I can only speculate and wonder, but if I've learned one thing in my old age, large companies and big pharma are not too worried about people...it's all about their bottom line...$$$$. It's ridiculous that 4 treatments of Rituxan costs $95,000.00 and a single shot for bone pain can run as high as $10,000.00. I try not to think about all of this too often or for too long, because it is not something I can change, or control. Interesting though, to say the least. Sue

Follicular-NHLGrade2-typeA-stage3-diagnosed June 21010.

Max Former Hodg...
Posts: 3699
Joined: May 2012

Sue, luckily, many landscapers are featuring non-toxic techniques today in lawn care.

My first neulasta shot put me in severe back pain, as my back had been previously broken.  My oncologist said we would reduce to half-dosing (and that kept my WBC level well in normal range).  When the RN was about to administer the first half dose, I asked if I could donate the other half, and she said no, they had to destroy it as medical waste. She then added "and that's ashamed, since a dose is $7,000."  That was in 2009, however.

I don't know who is dirtier:  drug developers, or Class Action lawyers.   Sort of like choosing between lethal injection or hanging....


Posts: 709
Joined: Jan 2017

... no drugs. Where would I be without Rituxan, cytoxin, fludara etc.? The answer is dead and long forgotten. Worm food. Bizarre govt. regulations are part of the problem. Greed is a factor as it is in most human endeavors.

Max Former Hodg...
Posts: 3699
Joined: May 2012

Shady, it is a good counterpoint that you make.  A large portion of drug company testing is to ward off future lawsuits, so they must attempt to render their product perfect, for every unique human being who will use it-- an impossible task, even in theory.  When testing goes on for too many years, people harp for faster development to save lives.  But when any flaw is detected in a drug, people condemn the industry for not exercising due care, and 'rushing' things, so it is a no-win situation for them.

  Companies must be better than perfect.  An LA judge a year ago issued an opinion that COFFEE should have black box warnings that it causes cancer. This despite the fact that coffee in most studies seems to prevent more than it might precipitate.  My brother bought a hunting knife several years ago. A piece of steel.  It had a warning on the case that "this product is believed to cause cancer in the State of California."  I look at a lot of guitars.  Mainstream, leading brands in the industry.  Same thing: many have warnings that they "are believed to cause cancer by the State of California."    I saw an orange Home Depot bucket at my work last year.  Stamped on the side was the warning "This product is NOT to be usesd as a SAFETY HELMET."  

Much of the blaming of drug companies is actually better aimed at insurance companies. During my half-year of infusions, I encountered more than a few people with neurtopenia who could not get their companies to pay for neulasta.  And I met many who would get sick during infusion, because their policy had refused in advance to pay for EMEND.  That IS disguisting. It was in 2009-2010, and  I don't know if any of that has since changed.  Like the pop hit 'Big Yellow Taxi' refrains, ya don't know what ya got till it's gone. They paved paradise and put up a parkin lot.   

po18guy's picture
Posts: 1222
Joined: Nov 2011

Look on the bags. It's ususally on the back near the bottom. "Consuming this product may expose you to Acrylamide, a chemical which is known to the State of California to cause cancer"

Frying foods, potatoes in particular, may form this chemical.

What now?

Posts: 709
Joined: Jan 2017

Roundup and similar products helped dramatically increase food grain production by almost 300%. With these products applied in the fall and wheat planted in the fall (winter wheat - corn, soy too) the crops do not need to be row cultivated (more plants per acre) and come up before the ground dries enough for a spring planting, resulting in an extra crop. Its also ideal for mechanized cultivation which further reduces cost. With these products corn, soybean and wheat production per acre cultivated have almost tripled. Is it worth it? I don’t know. Without it food and alccohol enriched gasoline would cost a lot more and land freed for housing, shopping malls, churches, strip malls, schools, orphanages, lawyer offices, insane asylums, fast food, gas stations, highways, convenience stores, bingo halls etc. would be needed for food production, which may not be all bad. It may cause some additional cancers but the bottom line is people are living longer healthier lives than ever before, and there is much less hunger in the world than at any point in history. Still, if they are giving out money I will take some. PM me for an address to mail the check to.

Almost70now's picture
Posts: 37
Joined: May 2019

Hey guys,

  I just wanted to say that I agree with all of you. Where  would we be today without progress. I'm thankful my CVP-R chemo treatment shrunk my tumors and kept me alive, and I'll do it all over again if it becomes necessary. I pay a high premium for my supplemental insurance each month and don't complain because I'm so grateful to have the money to do it. I worked 40 hours a week for 32 years and earned everything I have today, as many of us have done The only reason I threw my hat in the ring with the Monsanto class action suit was because my cancer appeared to tick all the boxes to qualify. Am I sitting around waiting for a big payday? Oh heck no. But, if I should get a small portion of the suit before I die, I'll gladly trot that check to the bank and not feel bad in the least. Good discussion guys. Smile Sue

FNHL-stage3-grade2-typeA-in remission 

Posts: 709
Joined: Jan 2017

1st of all for almost 20 years gasoline in the USA has been restricted to 1% benzene. However up to 25% of gasoline is aromatic hydrocarbons very similar to benzene. Some of these compounds (xylene for example) are also known carcinogens.

2nd: lighter fluid used benzene (a liquid) for decades but that is no longer the case. Most lighters now use butane (a gas compressed to liquid) in sealed disposable cases.

Sorry for the misinformation. I stand by the opinion that exposure to these aromatic carcinogenic compounds is practically unavoidable.


Benzene is an organic chemical compound with the chemical formula C6H6. The benzene molecule is composed of six carbon atoms joined in a ring with one hydrogen atom attached to each. As it contains only carbon and hydrogen atoms, benzene is classed as a hydrocarbon.

Skeletal formula detail of benzene.
Benzene ball-and-stick model
Ball and stick model
Benzene molecule
Space-filling model
Preferred IUPAC name
Other names
Benzol (historic/German)
Cyclohexa-1,3,5-triene; 1,3,5-Cyclohexatriene
[6]Annulene (not recommended[1])
3D model (JSmol)
ECHA InfoCard 100.000.685
EC Number 200-753-7
PubChem CID
RTECS number CY1400000
Molar mass 78.114 g·mol−1
Appearance Colorless liquid
Odor Aromatic, gasoline-like
Density 0.8765(20) g/cm3[2]
Melting point 5.53 °C (41.95 °F; 278.68 K)
Boiling point 80.1 °C (176.2 °F; 353.2 K)
1.53 g/L (0 °C)
1.81 g/L (9 °C)
1.79 g/L (15 °C)[3][4][5]
1.84 g/L (30 °C)
2.26 g/L (61 °C)
3.94 g/L (100 °C)
21.7 g/kg (200 °C, 6.5 MPa)
17.8 g/kg (200 °C, 40 MPa)[6]
Solubility Soluble in alcoholCHCl3CCl4diethyl etheracetoneacetic acid[6]
Solubility in ethanediol 5.83 g/100 g (20 °C)
6.61 g/100 g (40 °C)
7.61 g/100 g (60 °C)[6]
Solubility in ethanol 20 °C, solution in water:
1.2 mL/L (20% v/v)[7]
Solubility in acetone 20 °C, solution in water:
7.69 mL/L (38.46% v/v)
49.4 mL/L (62.5% v/v)[7]
Solubility in diethylene glycol 52 g/100 g (20 °C)[6]
log P 2.13
Vapor pressure 12.7 kPa (25 °C)
24.4 kPa (40 °C)
181 kPa (100 °C)[8]
Conjugate acid Benzenium
UV-vis (λmax) 255 nm
1.5011 (20 °C)
1.4948 (30 °C)[6]
Viscosity 0.7528 cP (10 °C)
0.6076 cP (25 °C)
0.4965 cP (40 °C)
0.3075 cP (80 °C)
Trigonal planar
134.8 J/mol·K
173.26 J/mol·K[8]
48.7 kJ/mol
3267.6 kJ/mol[8]
Main hazards potential occupational carcinogen, flammable
Safety data sheet See: data page
GHS pictograms  Flammable Toxic Harmful Health hazard Environmental hazard[9]
GHS signal word Danger
H225, H304, H315, H319, H340, H350, H372, H410[9]
P201, P210, P301+310, P305+351+338, P308+313, P331[9]
NFPA 704
NFPA 704 four-colored diamond
Flash point −11.63 °C (11.07 °F; 261.52 K)
497.78 °C (928.00 °F; 770.93 K)
Explosive limits 1.2–7.8%
Lethal dose or concentration (LD, LC):
LD50 (median dose)
930 mg/kg (rat, oral)
44,000 ppm (rabbit, 30 min)
44,923 ppm (dog)
52,308 ppm (cat)
20,000 ppm (human, 5 min)[11]
US health exposure limits (NIOSH):
PEL (Permissible)
TWA 1 ppm, ST 5 ppm[10]
Ca TWA 0.1 ppm ST 1 ppm[10]
IDLH (Immediate danger)
500 ppm[10]
Related compounds
Related compounds
Supplementary data page
Refractive index(n),
Dielectric constantr), etc.
Phase behaviour
Except where otherwise noted, data are given for materials in their standard state(at 25 °C [77 °F], 100 kPa).
☑ verify (what is ☑☒ ?)
Infobox references

Benzene is a natural constituent of crude oil and is one of the elementary petrochemicals. Due to the cyclic continuous pi bondbetween the carbon atoms, benzene is classed as an aromatic hydrocarbon, the second [n]-annulene ([6]-annulene). It is sometimes abbreviated PhH. Benzene is a colorless and highly flammable liquid with a sweet smell, and is responsible for the aroma around petrol (gas) stations. It is used primarily as a precursor to the manufacture of chemicals with more complex structure, such as ethylbenzene and cumene, of which billions of kilograms are produced annually. As benzene has a high octane number, aromatic derivatives like toluene and xylenetypically comprise up to 25% of gasoline (petrol). Benzene itself has been limited to less than 1% in gasoline because it is a known human carcinogen. Most non-industrial applications have been limited as well for the same reason

Max Former Hodg...
Posts: 3699
Joined: May 2012

I was looking at guitar picks on Zzounds (one of the leading stores for music products in the world) last night.....a footnote warning stated that the State of California believes that they cause cancer.  Same thing with guitar straps.  I can provide the links proving this.   

I was working on a switchboard on the ship once, and a capacitor blew. It was very old, and contained PCB, which IS regarded as an extreme carcinogen, and we had to report it and do a health investigation -- I had to call the manufacturer, etc.  PCB was/is used on electronic devices and transformers on telephone poles.  I was speaking with a contractor on the boat a few weeks later and got on the subject of PCB for a moment.  He said, "I used to supervise a plant where we made that stuff; we used to walk around in it in liquid form with fishing boots on, and no one ever got sick from it."



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