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Lake Michigan Benzene Exposure Problem Addressed by U.S. Steel


On July 4, 2009, The Post-Tribune released a story of a public update and forum on the benzene problem that faces U.S. Steel. U.S. Steel Gary Works announced in late March that the company had been leaking benzene into Lake Michigan for several years; speculating that the source is from a former tank farm. The past several decades have seen growing concern about benzene exposure as more and more evidence is accumulated about the hazards of this known carcinogen.

Risks of Benzene Exposure
While many harmful characteristics of benzene have been discovered, it can still be found in many commercial and consumer products. Benzene has been used over the last two centuries as a solvent for various commercial, industrial, and consumer applications. In the United States, benzene is one of the top twenty most produced chemicals.

It is important to be aware of some of the dangers of chemical exposure with this. Benzene is a known carcinogen that causes acute myoloid leukemia (AML), chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML), multiple myeloma and aplastic anemia. Even with all of the harmful effects, it remains to be used in a multitude of products. In cases of exposure, it rare to find the situation handled as described earlier. A benzene lawyer who specializes in the unique demands of a benzene case is of tremendous benefit to someone who is experienced some of these effects of benzene.

U.S. Steel’s Plan to Address Benzene Problem
U.S. Steel announced a detailed plan to address this problem head-on and prevent the contamination from spreading through various cleanups. Part of their plan includes the installation of a $1.4 million treatment system comprised of more than 100 groundwater monitoring wells around the perimeter of U.S. Steel Gary Works. A year ago, the company discovered benzene in the groundwater nearby up to 600 times the federal drinking water limit with the nearest drinking water intake at around one mile. The Environmental Protection agency did not express much concern about this since it gets diluted and dissolved before reaching the drinking water intake. Despite the EPA’s stance, U.S. Steel is taking this problem seriously and using all available resources to deal with this problem.

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