Oil spills often happen because of accidents, when people make mistakes or equipment breaks down. Other causes include natural disasters or deliberate acts. Oil spills have major environmental and economic effects.
Oil spills can also affect human health. These effects can depend on what kind of oil was spilled and where (on land, in a river, or in the ocean). Other factors include what kind of exposure and how much exposure there was. People who clean up the spill are more at risk. Problems could include skin and eye irritation, neurologic and breathing problems, and stress. Not much is known about the long-term effects of oil spills.
- Federal Emergency Management Agency Also in Spanish
- GuLF Study: The Gulf Long-Term Follow-Up Study (National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences)
- Oil Spills (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration)
- Total Petroleum Hydrocarbons (TPH): ToxFAQs (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) Also in Spanish
Journal Articles References and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine)
- Article: Electrogenic and hydrocarbonoclastic biofilm at the oil-water interface as microbial responses...
- Article: Estimating Health Risks to Children Associated with Recreational Play on Oil...
- Article: Oil spill + COVID-19: A disastrous year for Brazilian seagrass conservation.
- Oil Spills -- see more articles
The information on this site should not be used as a substitute for professional medical care or advice. Contact a health care provider if you have questions about your health.