Navigation Links
Gulf Oil Spill Still a Health Threat to Many, Researchers Report
Date:8/16/2010

MONDAY, Aug. 16 (HealthDay News) -- The massive BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico still poses a health threat to clean-up workers, fishermen and members of coastal communities, according to a group of researchers who have examined the area.

"Clinicians should be aware of, and look for, evidence of toxicity from exposures to oil and related chemicals. Symptomatic patients should be asked about occupation and location of residence, the physical examination should focus on the skin, respiratory tract, neurological system," Dr. Sarah Janssen, an assistant clinical professor at the University of California, San Francisco and a senior scientist with the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) in San Francisco, said in a UCSF news release.

Janssen is co-author of a commentary published online Monday by the Journal of the American Medical Association on the immediate and long-term health risks posed by toxic vapors, oil slicks, tar balls and contaminated seafood associated with the disaster.

"The oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is well known as an ecological disaster, but what is less known is the risk to human health caused by oil contamination," article senior author Dr. Gina Solomon, senior director of UCSF's occupational and environmental medicine residency and fellowship program and senior scientist at the NRDC, said in the news release.

"We want to reach the volunteers, clean-up workers, fishermen, medical specialists and community members with practical information about the impact to their health from these chemicals. With correct information, we hope they can protect themselves and seek treatment if they don't feel well," Solomon said.

Air quality, skin irritation, mental health and seafood safety are the main areas of short- and long-term health concerns.

Air quality is a potential issue because volatile organic compounds can evaporate within hours after oil makes contact with water and cause respiratory irritation, headaches and nausea. However, the researchers said the air quality has improved since the oil leak was stopped.

Other chemicals released by the oil or by chemicals used to disperse oil can cause skin irritation, respiratory problems and damage to the central nervous system.

Potential mental health issues include anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and psychological stress.

Meanwhile, as more areas of the Gulf are reopened for commercial fishing, government officials are using extensive testing to ensure that seafood from the waters is safe.

But it's unclear whether this extra effort will convince consumers to start buying seafood from the Gulf in the wake of the oil spill, the Associated Press reported.

Different species clear oil contamination out of their bodies at different rates, which means some species may be declared safe before others. For example, fish are the fastest, crabs and oysters the slowest, and shrimp are somewhere in the middle, the news service said.

"I probably would put oysters at the top of the concern list and I don't think there's a close second," marine scientist George Crozier, director of the Dauphin Island Sea Lab in Alabama, told the AP.

In order to reduce oil spill-related risks to human health, Solomon and Janssen offer the following advice:

  • Safety equipment for workers should include hats, gloves, boots, coveralls, safety goggles and, in some cases, respirators.
  • Workers must take breaks and drink ample fluids to prevent heat-related illness.
  • Avoid skin contact with tar or oil on beaches, marshland or in the water.
  • Don't eat fish in areas of known oil contamination or where there is visible oil.
  • Don't eat seafood that smells oily or strange.
  • If there is a strong smell of oil in the air and you feel ill, go inside and adjust the air conditioner to recirculate air.
  • If you feel persistently ill, seek medical attention.

More information

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has more about the BP oil spill.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCES: Journal of the American Medical Association, news release, Aug. 16, 2010; Associated Press


'/>"/>
Copyright©2010 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. ESAs Envisat monitors oil spill
2. NASA satellite imagery keeping eye on the Gulf oil spill
3. Envisat monitoring changes in oil spill
4. Gulf Oil Spill Could Threaten Human Health
5. KEL Attorneys is Assisting Victims of the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill by Filling Legal Claims on Their Behalf
6. Gulf Oil Spill Workers Report Health Problems
7. Gulf Oil Spill Goes from Disaster to Catastrophe
8. So far, fish appear to be healthy after fly ash spill
9. New strain of bacteria discovered that could aid in oil spill, other environmental cleanup
10. Prez BaRock Donating 100 Percent of Profits to Gulf Coast Oil Spill Fund
11. Liberty Health shows how the BP Oil Spill may draw attention to the purity of the company's newly released Nutritional Supplements.
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Gulf Oil Spill Still a Health Threat to Many, Researchers Report
(Date:5/6/2016)... , ... May 06, 2016 , ... ... arrival of Sovaldi, which made headlines mostly for its cost despite its potential ... and moral questions surrounding the drug—part of a class called direct-acting antivirals (DAAs)—have ...
(Date:5/6/2016)... ... 2016 , ... RowdMap, Inc. co-founder, Joshua Rosenthal, PhD, joins ... Deputy Administrator at Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS); Ali Khan, MD, ... Officer at Health Care Service Corporation (Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois, ...
(Date:5/5/2016)... Texas (PRWEB) , ... May 05, 2016 , ... ... the Responsible Wool Standard (RWS) for public stakeholder review. The stakeholder review is an ... that it meets its goals and delivers value to the wool industry., The RWS ...
(Date:5/5/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... May 05, 2016 , ... This weekend, from Friday, May 6 - ... on steep California terrain at the first Team Semper Fi Mountain Bike Camp, hosted in ... will be mountain bike legends Mark Weir and Jason Moeschler, who’ll share pro tips with ...
(Date:5/5/2016)... Indianapolis, IN (PRWEB) , ... May 05, 2016 ... ... employee benefits advisory organization, announces McLaughlin & Smoak Benefits as the latest addition ... & Smoak Benefits has a dedicated team of compliance, wellness, human resources, and ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:5/4/2016)... , May 4, 2016 ... of Jerusalem announced today that it had signed ... BioTheryX, Inc. , developer of novel protein degradation and ... development and commercialization of drug candidates representing first-in-class therapy ... license were not disclosed. The novel technology ...
(Date:5/4/2016)... , May 4, 2016 ... of the  "Global Acute Myeloid Leukemia Market ... to their offering.       (Logo: ... Myeloid Leukemia Market and Competitive Landscape Highlights ... Leukemia pipeline products, Acute Myeloid Leukemia epidemiology, ...
(Date:5/3/2016)... 2016 Research and Markets has ... Cell Therapy Market Outlook 2020" report to their ... , ,Recombinant technology has improved significantly in past years ... developed in coming years. Many cancer drugs have been ... therapies are also expected to be developed with its ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: