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Old Sat Apr 11, 2015, 03:38 PM
MikeG MikeG is offline
Join Date: Nov 2014
Location: Seminole, FL
Posts: 5
MDS in Veteran Medical Lab Technician

Has anyone had experience as a clinical hospital lab technician exposed to benzene in the clinical laboratory. As I sat at a microscope all day long for 3-4 years, we always kept a container of xylene open on the table to remove the oil we put on microscope slides that was necessary for achieving high resolution of cells being examined. Although xylene does not cause MDS, in the 1960's xylene was contaminated with dangerous amounts of benzene during the manufacturing process. This is not an agent orange problem but rather one of exposure to benzene. Does anyone have any experience filing with the VA for a disability claim for MDS caused by clinical laboratory benzene exposure such as this?
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Old Sat Apr 18, 2015, 10:38 AM
Bob Macfarlane Bob Macfarlane is offline
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Soutwest Ranches, Florida
Posts: 121

If you are able to provide evidence of benzene exposure in the military MDS is about a slam dunk. Where they are going to get you will be by calling MDS just a form of anemia.

I recently presented my case before the Board of Veterans' Appeals in DC but don't have a decision yet. Five years ago after another BVA hearing I was granted the relationship between AO and MDS but given zero percent disability because it was only "anemia."

On March 10, 2015 I presented my appeal that MDS is most like leukemia and in the absence of a code MDS should be rated as leukemia. If you would like a copy of that, email me a mailing address at AirAmrka@aol.com. It is much too large to be emailed to you.
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Old Sun Apr 19, 2015, 04:47 PM
MikeG MikeG is offline
Join Date: Nov 2014
Location: Seminole, FL
Posts: 5
MDS in Veteran Medical Lab Technician

The challenge I have is in demonstrating that the xylene I was exposed to on a daily basis was contaminated with benzene. Xylene today no longer has benzene as a contaminant and is marketed as benzene free but in the 1960-70's, it did contain benzene. I'm looking for a way to prove that forty five years ago xylene was contaminated with benzene. If I had a material safety data sheet for xylene from that time period, I could support my case. That's why I'm seeking lab techs from that period who were exposed to xylene and were later diagnosed with MDS. Today, the fact that MDS is a malignant cancer is not in dispute.
Myelodysplastic Syndrome High Grade, R-IPSS intermediate risk, complex cytogenetics - 45XY, -5,-9,add12(p11.2), -15, -17, -5, add(19), +4mar[2]/43, idem, add 12(p11.2), -17 [2], 46XY [16], Diagnosed 8/4/2014, Allogeneic stem cell transplant: 02/03/2015
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