Consistencies and inconsistencies underlying the quantitative assessment of leukemia risk from benzene exposure

S. H. Lamm, A. S. Walters, R. Wilson, D. M. Byrd, H. Grunwald

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


This paper examines recent risk assessments for benzene and observes a number of inconsistencies within the study and consistencies between studies that should effect the quantitative determination of the risk from benzene exposure. Comparisons across studies show that only acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is found to be consistently in excess with significant benzene exposure. The data from the Pliofilm study that forms the basis of most quantitative assessments reveal that all the AML cases came from only one of the three studied plants and that all the benzene exposure data came from the other plants. Hematological data from the 1940s from the plant from which almost all of the industrial hygiene exposure data come do not correlate well with the originally published exposure estimates but do correlate well with an alternative set of exposure estimates that are much greater than those estimates originally published. Temporal relationships within the study are not consistent with those of other studies. The dose-response relationship is strongly nonlinear. Other data suggest that the leukemogenic effect of benzene is nonlinear and may derive from a threshold toxicity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)289-297
Number of pages9
JournalEnvironmental Health Perspectives
StatePublished - 1989
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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