DOH: Guimaras toxicity levels way above normal

September 4, 2006


ILOILO CITY – Health officials are conducting comprehensive testing on areas affected by the oil spill in Guimaras after initial tests showed toxicity levels reaching 2,000 times above the acceptable level.

Regional director Lydia Depra-Ramos of the Department of Health said tests are being conducted on coastal villages of the towns of Nueva Valencia, Sibunag and San Lorenzo based on results of a health and environmental assessment conducted by the DOH and the University of the Philippines National Poison Management and Control Center.

The tests conducted on Aug. 23 in the villages of Cabalagnan, Lapaz and Tando in Nueva Valencia town revealed that the level of hydrogen sulfide in the environment in Barangay Cabalagnan reached 537.9 to 2,145 parts per million (ppm) and from 13.2 to 165.0 ppm in Barangay Lapaz.

The figures were way above the acceptable level of 0.00071 ppm defined by the United States Environmental Protection Agency-Provisional Remediation Goal (EPA-PRG).

Hydrogen sulfide can cause poisoning of different systems of the body which can lead to death. Exposure to lower concentrations can caused eye irritation, respiratory tract ailments like sore throat, cough, and shortness of breath.

The tests also showed a higher than normal level of hydrocarbons such as benzene, ethylbenzene, toluene and xylene.

(Click Visayan Daily Star, Sept. 4, 2006, for the full story.)


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