Although benzene, ionizing radiation and lead are the most common causal agents in occupational blood diseases, technological development has led to a significant increase in the number of occupational haemotoxic agents.
Since these haemotoxic agents are of varied nature (chemical, physical or biological), their haemotoxic activity differs. The haemotropic property depends on the specific characteristics of a toxic substance, its physicochemical properties and its route of entry is into the body. In addition is the significance of age, sex, race and, in particular, acquired or hereditary personal predisposition. The specific features of the work station are related to: the presence and concentration of haemotoxic substances in the environment; time of exposure; effectiveness of the ventilation system; and use of personal protective equipment.
The health hazard is particularly increased during work such as the degreasing of metal components, dissolving and reprocessing rubber, the manufacture of solvents for glues, paints and varnishes, the use of printing inks (heliogravure and photogravure) and dry cleaning. Other activities which may be the source of agents producing occupational blood diseases include the leather industry, textile industry, woodworking industry, battery manufacture, and work in the vicinity of sources of ionizing radiation or carbon monoxide.