Saturday, June 19, 2010

Warnings of Health Hazards from Oil Burnoff

From UPI:

Burning off oil from the ruined Deepwater Horizon well in the Gulf of Mexico creates toxic byproducts that could be a health hazard, one expert says.

Dr. Phil Harber, head of Occupational and Environmental Medicine division at UCLA, says people living on nearby shorelines could be affected, CNN reported Friday.

Depending on the scope and duration of the burn, Harber said, "People with asthma, or who are very young, or who have cardiac disease, are much more likely to be sensitive the released pollutants."

And from

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection authorized the Coast Guard to burn oil offshore, and the county is warning people of potential health issues.

Particulate matter, an airborne mix of very small particles and liquid droplets, may reach the shore, according to an Okaloosa County Health Department news release.

People on the coast may smell the oil spill odor of volatile organic compounds, similar to the smell at a gas station.

"You can smell these VOCs at levels well below those that would make you sick," the release reads.

Exposure to low levels may cause eye, nose, skin and throat irritation.