Tuesday, June 1, 2010

MDInfo Alert! - The Oil Spill and Your Health

Information is vital to survival. That's why, here at MDINFO, we bring information to bear on health issues, whenever we can, whenever that info is relevant.

And we cannot remember a time when survival info was more relevant than now.


Yes, we're talking about the Gulf Oil Spill. Yes, this is for you millions of people in the line of fire, and millions more downrange of the spreading poison.

Crude oil is poison. Let's face that face up front. POISON.

Okay, we know you're weary of this thing, you don't want to keep hearing more about it. But we've just begun to scratch the surface of how bad this is going to get. A hole was punched into a vast pool of oil shooting out at 35,000 PSI, a hole enlarging itself every hour.

To protect the coastal beaches, a vast cloud of dispersed oil was created by 910,000 gallons of dispersant--- intentionally dumped by BP into the gulf, on top of the already disastrous spill. maybe their idea was "out of sight out of mind".

These poison clouds in the Gulf are hundreds of feet deep and many miles long. They are moving in the loop current and may bend up far north in the Atlantic, or all around the globe.

And we have just begun hurricane season, which may spread them rapidly.

This could affect the entire planet in ways not yet imagine. The health implications are global and enduring.

That is why it is urgent that we all face the truth.

That is why we must all find ways to protect our health, and the health of those we love.

The scientists at USCDC (Center for Disease Control) are scrambling to get the word out. But the word, like the oil, has to be digested, to have its impact.


Number One--- crude oil contains MANY CARCINOGENS.

People can be exposed to hazardous substances related to the spill by breathing them (air), by swallowing them (food, water), or by touching them (skin).

People should avoid close contact to the spill and fumes from any burning oil.

Air Quality - Smell: People may be able to smell the oil spill from the shore. The odor comes from chemicals in the oil that people can smell at levels well below those that would make most people sick.

However, exposure to low levels of these chemicals may cause irritation of the eyes, nose, throat, and skin. People with asthma or other lung diseasesmay be more sensitive to these effects.

Burning oil: When responders burn some of the oil, some “Particulate Matter” (PM) may reach the shore.

PM is a mix of very small particles and liquid droplets found in the air. PM may pose a greater risk for people who have a chronic condition such as asthma or heart disease.

If you smell gas or see smoke or know that fires are nearby, stay indoors, set your air conditioner to reuse indoor air, and avoid physical activities that put extra demands on your lungs and heart.

Food: The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) are monitoring the oil spill and its potential impact on the safety of seafood harvested from the area.

Although crude oil has the potential to taint seafood with flavors and odors caused by exposure to hydrocarbon chemicals, the public should not be concerned about the safety of seafood in the stores at this time.

For more information about seafood and the oil spill, visit http://www.fda.gov/Food/ucm210436.htm.

Water: Drinking water and household water are not expected to be affected by the spill. However, water used for recreation may be affected. Swimming in water contaminated with chemicals from the oil spill could cause health effects.

For more information about water and the oil spill, visit http://www.cdc.gov/nceh/oil_spill/information_residents.htm#5.

Follow local and state public health guidelines and warnings about the use of beaches and coastal water for swimming, boating, and fishing.

For more information about beach safety, visit http://www.deepwaterhorizonresponse.com/go/doc/2931/542551/.

Dispersants: Oil spill dispersants break an oil slick into small drops. For most people, brief contact with a small amount of oil spill dispersants will do no harm. However, longer contact can cause a rash and dry skin. Dispersants can also irritate your eyes. Breathing or swallowing dispersants can also cause health effects.

If you've been exposed, in any way, to oil or dispersants, see your doctor. ASAP!

Health care providers can find more information on CDC’s oil spill web site at http://emergency.cdc.gov/chemical/oil_spill_gm_2010.asp.

And lastly, for now, here is a good list of US Federal Resources---

• Unified Federal Oil Spill Response - Find the latest incident updates, information on plans for specific areas, and information on how to volunteer to help. The Joint Information Center, led by the Federal Emergency Management Agency in the Department of Homeland Security, coordinates this website and all information from federal and private partners involved in responding to the oil spill.

• Disaster Information Management Research Center - The National Library of Medicine’s information on oil spills and health.

• Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) - Contains answers to questions about how EPA is responding to environmental concerns in the air and water related to the oil spill.

• Food and Drug Administration (FDA) - FDA is monitoring the situation and its potential impact on the safety of seafood harvested from the area.

• National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) - The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) National Marine Fisheries Service is responsible for the management, conservation and protection of living marine resources in water 3 to 200 miles offshore. NOAA will continue to monitor the situation and notify the public if any problem is detected with seafood from this area of the country.

• National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) - The National Institute of Environmental Health Science (NIEHS) has summarized many of the hazards and protections needed for workers involved in oil spill response and cleanup in the Oil Spill Safety Awareness Tool.

• National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) - CDC’s National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) is working to provide recommendations to workers about chemical exposures, physical hazards and biological hazards they may encounter.

Here at MDINO, we will track this disaster and bring updates whenever health-relevant.

We will bring every form of information to bear, to help you protect your own health, and the health of your loved ones--- not to mention, global health itself!

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