Highlights of Noteworthy Decisions

Decision 1199 12
J. Noble - B. Wheeler - M. Ferrari
  • Exposure (benzene)
  • Lymphoma (non-Hodgkin's)

The worker appealed a decision of the Appeals Resolution Officer denying entitlement for non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL), which the worker related to exposure to benzene in his work for a tire manufacturer.

The Tribunal accepted the opinion of a Tribunal medical assessor that there was insufficient evidence to establish a significant relationship between NHL and benzene exposure. The assessor noted that, because of the strong evidence of an association between acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and benzene exposure, several researchers have made a presumption that there is also an association between NHL and benzene exposure. However, the assessor performed a scientific literature review and that there was insufficient evidence of a causal link between benzene exposure and NHL.
There is 2012 IARC monograph study regarding the carcinogenicity of benzene. However, the Panel noted that the study stated that there was limited evidence in humans for a causal association between benzene and NHL. This limited evidence, rather than sufficient evidence, did not meet the required standard of proof.
The worker referred to two recent Tribunal decisions regarding NHL and benzene. Decision No. 726/11 denied entitlement for NHL. This decision was not supportive of the worker's case. Decision No. 1448/11 granted entitlement for NHL. However, the Panel distinguished Decision No. 1448/11 on the basis of exposure to an additional carcinogenic substance (butadiene 1,3) as well as benzene. Further, Decision No. 1448/11 involved employment prior to 1950, when exposure would have been higher.
The Panel concluded that the worker did not have entitlement for NHL as a result of workplace exposure to benzene. The appeal was dismissed.