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Denver-area refinery Suncor's benzene problems have some employees worried. The Suncor refinery's water may have been contaminated with a potentially carcinogenic substance.
Small amounts of benzene were detected in two faucets in the facility. The other faucets were determined to be clean.
The problem may have spread to areas even outside the refinery. The contaminants may have seeped underground. Tests indicated high benzene levels of 48 times the limit some nearby waterways.
More than 500 workers at the Suncor refinery have had their blood tested. At this point it's unclear how long benzene has been in the drinking water.
The problem was discovered when an employee smelled something strange when using a faucet in late December. The company then launched an investigation.
Benzene can be dangerous. The most harmful impact of benzene can be on an individual's blood. Those who are exposed could develop anemia. Exposure to high levels of the substance in the air can also cause leukemia.
Employees may start contacting Denver personal injury attorneys soon. It's possible they could file lawsuits seeking damages stemming from the benzene leak. If the refinery is found responsible, it could be liable.
For example, if investigation reveals that the refinery did not take proper safety precautions to limit benzene exposure. Or, if the leak was the result of some intentional act by the company.
So far there is no indication that Suncor's benzene leak stemmed from the refinery's operations. Suncor refinery's water contamination problem does have some employees worried. The company has brought in temporary water supplies, according to KMGH-TV. The company earlier indicated they were unsure if any workers were contaminated.