Kids to suffer from oil spill

October 4, 2006

ILOILO CITY–Children are most likely to suffer the effects of fuel oil exposure, according to the Department of Health-Center for Health Development (DoH-CHD) 6.

Dr. Sofia Pulmones, DoH-CHD Human Resource head, said children have higher risks of contracting defects when exposed to fuel oil.

Speaking during the 17th Nutrition Congress here, Pulmones said children have disproportionately heavy exposures to many environmental agents than adults because of their hand-to-mouth behavior and habit to play close to the ground.

Pulmones also said that the children’s metabolic pathways, especially in fetal life and in the first months after birth, are immature. In some instances, she added, children are not able to metabolize, detoxify and excrete environmental agents that enter their bodies.

Dr. Pulmones said such is the exposure children may get in communities affected by the oil spill in Guimaras.

The bunker oil spilled that contaminated the island province is categorized as residual fuel oils or heavy fuel oils.

Pulmones revealed that acute and chronic fuel oil exposure can bring hazardous effects to health when inhaled, skin irritations and burns, nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, convulsions, irregularities in heart beats and in some extreme cases, coma and death.

Focusing on the impact of fuel oil, particularly acute and chronic exposures on health and nutrition, Dr. Pulmones said proper management of effects and medical surveillance and provision of vitamin supplementation and nutritional support to residents, particularly children in affected areas are measures to be undertaken.

Pulmones added that children should be protected, since they have more years of future life and thus more times to develop diseases initiated by early exposures. (PIA 6/ESS, The Guardian Iloilo, Oct. 3, 2006)

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