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.