LOS ANGELES, June 18 (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.”
The black cloud rising from the cleanup burn contains small particles that can wind up in the lungs. Gases such as sulfur dioxide and hydrogen sulfide, and volatile hydrocarbons are also a health concern, CNN said.
The Environmental Protection Agency says air-quality levels for ozone and particulates on the Gulf Coast are no different from usual for this time of year.
But hospitals have reported complaints from several dozen cleanup workers of headaches, nausea and dizziness, CNN reported.
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