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Leukemia (literally "white blood") is an abnormal increase in the number of leukocytes (white blood cells) in the tissues of the body. Leukemia is a form of cancer, and there are many individual types of leukemia that are defined by which kinds of white blood cells are affected.
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Leukemia is a dangerous condition. Some forms (such as CML; see below) are generally fatal. In these cases, bone marrow transplants can cure individuals in about 50% of cases, but this is expensive and requires a good donor match. Chemotherapy (treatment with chemicals designed to kill cancers) and radiation have some success in certain cases.
Other forms of leukemia such as hairy cell leukemia are easier to cure or put into remission (temporarily stop), with long-term survival of 10 years or more possible.
Safety Data Sheets and labels are are required to state if the material is a carcinogen. The label will carry a Health Hazard pictogram like the one shown on the right and will carry various health statements and precautionary statements. The SDS will list the potential health effects in Section 11 (toxicological information).
Long-term exposure to chemicals such as benzene is known to cause chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML), a malignant cancer of the bone marrow. Workers in certain occupations may be more prone to leukemia and should take proper precautions to reduce their risk; see the links under Further Reading below.
Pay close attention to the permissible exposure levels (PEL) for the chemicals you are working with to ensure that you are not chronically exposed to dangerous levels of the material. Treat all carcinogens and mutagens with respect. Ideally, your workplace should substitute other chemicals or processes whenever possible to avoid exposure to materials that can cause leukemia.
Always use engineering controls such as fume hoods and local exhaust ventilation to control chemical releases in the workplace and use proper personal protective equipment (PPE) such as gloves, aprons and respirators to further avoid exposure. Section 8 (exposure controls/personal protection) of the SDS will list specific recommendations for each.
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See also: carcinoma, clastogen, PEL, TLV.
Additional definitions from Google and OneLook.
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