Key findings from our investigation into harmful effects of benzene in low doses

Key findings:

  • For decades, the petrochemical industry spent millions on science seeking to minimize the dangers of benzene, a carcinogen tied to leukemia and other cancers.
  • Benzene, a sweet-smelling component of crude oil, is used to make plastics, lubricants, dyes, adhesives and pesticides. It's also a key ingredient in gasoline and cigarettes, and it's the 17th most produced chemical in the U.S.
  • A 2004 National Cancer Institute study suggested there’s no safe threshold for people working with the chemical.
  • Our review of some 20,000 pages of internal records reveals the petrochemical industry went to great lengths to rebut studies showing harmful effects of benzene in low doses.
  • While seeking funding, the industry’s lobby touted how the expected results of a proposed study in China could be used to reduce liability and combat stricter regulation.