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Originally posted by marg6043
I guess either stop eating fish and sea food or start trusting the "made in china" brand.
Crude Oil Health Hazards
Crude oil contains hundreds of chemicals, many of them well established as being toxic to people. Many of the crude oil chemicals are comprised hydrogen and carbon (e.g., simple straight chain paraffins, aromatic ring structures, naphthenes), and some also contain sulfur, nitrogen, heavy metals, and oxygen compounds.
A list of common chemicals in crude oil is listed in Table D-1 of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control "Toxicological Profile for Petroleum Hydrocarbons" at: www.atsdr.cdc.gov... (CDC, 1999).
Crude oil composition varies slightly by its source, but its toxic properties are fairly consistent. Chemicals such as benzene and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are very toxic components of crude oil and of high concern. These and many other chemicals in crude oil are volatile, moving from the oil into the air. Once airborne, they can blow over the ocean for miles, reaching communities far from the spill. They may be noticed as petroleum odors. Consequently, both those working on the spill and people who are far from it can be exposed to crude oil chemicals in air.
To provide brief summaries of crude oil health hazards for the public, we prepared the following handouts that can be downloaded and printed.
With respect to public policy, an emphasis on protection and prevention of disease is an appropriate public health strategy when faced with the potential for widespread contamination and public exposure to toxic chemicals.
Exposure can occur through skin contact, inhalation of contaminated air or soil, and ingestion of contaminated water or food. These can occur simultaneously. Exposure pathways may result in localized toxicity (e.g., irritation of the skin following contact), but most health effects are systemic because ingredients can move throughout the body. Exposure varies based on the duration and concentrations in contaminated media. Differences may result from location, work and personal activities, age, diet, use of protective equipment, and other factors.
Concurrent exposure to other toxic chemicals at work and home must be considered when evaluating the potential toxic effects of crude oil chemicals.
Reassurances that crude oil reaching the shore is all "weathered" are contradicted in many locations where shoreline oil is not weathered. When possible, obtain accurate local information from an objective source with the means to evaluate the oil's composition. Unweathered crude oil contains the volatile organic chemicals (VOCs), including benzene, that are listed in the CDC document linked under "sources" below (see Table D-1). Claims that weathered crude oil is safe are incorrect, although it is less toxic than unweathered crude oil with respect to the presence of VOCs.
Some chemicals in crude oil are volatile, moving into air easily, and these can often be detectable by smell. Not all airborne chemicals have a detectable odor, so the absence of oil odors does not mean that there are no crude oil chemicals in the air. Some information on the locations and amounts of chemicals is at: www.epa.gov... Unfortunately, the information is very limited and not readily accessible, as discussed on our tandem webpage at: www.sciencecorps.org/gulfspillchemicals.html under the heading: "Failure of the Federal Government to Fully Disclose Test Results".
Reducing exposure will invariably reduce harm. OSHA guidance on protective strategies for oil spill response workers is available at: www.osha.gov... A protective approach requires minimizing the amount of exposure to crude oil chemicals.
Basic Physiological Effects
Crude oil is a complex mixture of chemicals that have varying abilities to be absorbed into the body through the skin, lungs, and during digestion of food and water. Most components of crude oil enter the bloodstream rapidly when they are inhaled or swallowed. Crude oil contains chemicals that readily penetrate cell walls, damage cell structures, including DNA, and alter the function of the cells and the organs where they are located. Crude oil is toxic, and ingredients can damage every system in the body:
respiratory nervous system, including the brain
liver reproductive/urogenital system
kidneys endocrine system
circulatory system gastrointestinal system
immune system sensory systems
musculoskeletal system hematopoietic system (blood forming)
skin and integumentary system disruption of normal metabolism
Damaging or altering these systems causes a wide range of diseases and conditions. In addition, interference with normal growth and development through endocrine disruption and direct damage to fetal tissue is caused by many crude oil ingredients (CDC, 1999). DNA damage can cause cancer and multi-generational birth defects.