Leukemia's Link to Oil

Not an oil derrick
Located in Orcutt California where I once
lived a stone's throw from real ones.
I keep coming across the same statement: "exposure to some chemicals, such as benzene, increases the risk of leukemia".

So, how would someone even know if they had been exposed to benzene?

What is benzene?

If you look it up in wikipedia, there's a lot of blah, blah, blah mumbo jumbo.

But, here are a few comments I can relate to:

"Benzene is a natural constituent of crude oil, and is one of the most basic petrochemicals."

If I am not mistaken crude oil is the kind of oil that comes out of the ground. Right? You may not think you've ever been exposed to that because you are not working on any oil derricks.

But, wait... how about Kerosene. Any exposure there? I don't think many people use it on a regular basis, but I grew up in an age where it was available and used variously around the house. When the electricity went off we would light kerosene lamps. That meant pouring some directly into the lamps by handling the container the kerosene came in. When working out in the garage on his car, my father would wash his grimy hands with kerosene. My mother used kerosene to get the paint off the brushes she used to paint the walls. Guess what? I helped her, and washed the paint off my hands and brushes the same way. That is only an example and not any indication of my thinking this was the cause of my leukemia. Just an example of how we might be exposed to benzene and not realize it. The question still remains why did my parents not get leukemia and I did when we all had the same amount of exposure.

Petrochemicals, as mentioned above, are a bit more complicated to explain. Best way that I understand it, and this is NOT comprehensive, is that things that are made from crude oil are petrochemicals. So, it's kind of like taking a block of butter and melting it. You've changed it from a solid to a liquid. If you keep the burner on and the melted butter burns, then you have browned butter. If you keep cooking it, then you have a mess, which might flame up and cause smoke. So, you have taken a form of oil and changed it's "chemical" composition. Same thing with crude oil.

It's really quite incredible to realize all the things that can be made from crude oil. Of course, we all know gasoline comes from crude oil and this is a major concern for the world. Will we run out of it? Will there be enough to last us in the next generations? Will we go to war over the price of gas?

Some products created from petrochemicals you might be familiar with are:

Adhesives and sealants
Agricultural chemicals such as used for gardening.
CD's DVD's
Construction chemicals
Cosmetics raw materials
Detergents (for laundry, dishes and other cleaning)
Dry cleaning solvent
Electronic materials
Epoxy, used in paints and glues
Food additives and flavorings
Inks, dyes and printing supplies
Nail polish remover (acetone)
Packaging, bottles, and containers
Paint, coatings, and resins
PVC pipe
Rubber and plastics
Rubbing alcohol
Surfactants and cleaning agents
Synthetic dyes

So, if you think you have never been "exposed" to benzene or petrochemicals, think again.

That being said, I wouldn't start going through the house and doing a major cleanse. You would have to move out into the forest somewhere to get away from all those things that are commonplace to us. And truly the forest has it's risk factors as well.

Truly, when it comes to exposures to chemicals which are carcinogenic and can cause leukemia, we have to look deeper. Are there any contaminated landfills near where you grew up, or nearby your home, school or work?

You might say no. But, to be sure, you would need to do some research. There are so many pieces of land that were once contaminated that have now been re-purposed. It behooves you to find out where they are in your community. I just remembered while writing this that I once lived in Orcutt, California where oil was discovered and drilled for right up to this day. I lived just over the hill from where they were doing the drilling and pumping of oil.

Don't just sit there and say there is nothing you can do about it. There are things you can do to lower your risk aside from moving away. Knowledge is power. Empower yourself.

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