Above all we need more medical research!

Our Research

The medical information and links are related to cancers of a specific type which have been found to be caused by chemical exposure.  The sources serve to help the reader make the medical connection between exposure and the development of AML, cancers and other serious illnesses.

The research began in response to the V.A.’s ruling CFR3.307 which asserts that AML and other cancers can not be considered service related unless they manifest within one year of the veteran’s last date of service. This policy effectively excludes most cancers resulting from exposure incidents.  AML and other cancers that are extremely aggressive can manifest as early as 6 to 18 months of exposure, whereas many cases result in disease anywhere from 18 months to over 5 years.  

If the connection between cancer and service could be validated, then benefits that are rightly due to our service men and women, Department of Defense employees, and their families could be restored, and an effort to prevent future cases could be made. 

Some Facts Regarding AML

Most of the veterans we have been working with suffered and died from AML due to chemical exposure.  Since the time of diagnosis the families have been investigating this situation.  We came together and found many other families through this research.  Although there are various diseases manifesting from chemical exposure AML is the one we have the most information on. We would like to take this opportunity to share some of that information with you. 

  • There is a strong association with exposure to benzene and bone marrow abnormalities, including acute myeloid leukemia. 

  • The underlying leukemia, the type of cytogenetics that the disease exhibited, and the fact that they did not respond to treatment are all consistent with chemical exposure as a potential cause of leukemia.  The fact that they had known exposure to benzene and its derivatives, as well as, possibly other compounds is compelling.

  • Benzene and its derivatives inhibit topoisomerase II and this inhibition leads to faulty repair of DNA which can lead to leukemogenesis.

  • Benzene is metabolized to a variety of metabolites that are toxic to human bone marrow resulting in pancytopenia (low blood counts in all three cell lines), aplastic anemia (a form of bone marrow failure affecting red blood cells), myelodysplastic syndrome (a bone marrow abnormality in which the stromal or structural elements of the bone marrow supporting environment are abnormal), and acute myeloid leukemia (an elevation in non-functioning white blood cells often leading to infection and death).

  • With regards to causing acute leukemia (AML), the data re: benzene and AML is incontestable. There is a debate about what is considered a “safe” level of exposure to benzene. Some consider that no level is safe.

  • In the early 1970s the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and its research arm, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health were established. The problems with occupational exposure to benzene were some of the first problems that OSHA attempted to tackle.

In disease that resulted within the one year time frame, it has been stated that patients who died before the development of identifiable cancer, died to the extreme exposure to the chemical(s), skipping the development of cancer.  Although cancer appears to be a response to less-extreme exposure, acute myeloid leukemia with a specific karotype, has been associated with chemical exposure which results in a specific mutation of the chromosomes, resulting in the development of a very aggressive leukemia in which the prognosis is not favorable.             
The above information was compiled by Dr. Tim Grennan