What Are The Long Term Health Effects of the BP Oil Spill?

By: Meagan O'Halloran Email
By: Meagan O'Halloran Email
Santa Rosa Beach - Dr. Rodney Soto, a licensed medical doctor, says the effects of organic volatile compounds found in petroleum product and chemical dispersents contain toxic material. He

A cancer doctor checks out a patient at St. Francis Medical Center in Grand Island, NE.

It's been more than 6-months since the oil spill. The well has been capped, fishermen are out in the gulf again, and businesses are trying to get back to normal. But is there still a risk when it comes to long term health implications associated with petroleum product and chemical dispersents in the gulf, on shore and in the air? One local doctor says he is already testing and treating patients for toxic exposure.

What else was washing up with the tarballs?

Dr. Rodney Soto, a licensed medical doctor, says the effects of organic volatile compounds found in petroleum product and chemical dispersents contain toxic material. He's already treating patients with symptoms of exposure..

"We're not talking about short term effects of irritation in the airways, headaches, or rashes people have been experiencing from symptoms that we get calls here in the office for.I'm more concerned about the long term health effects. Nobody talks about it, nobody's even thinking of that 5,10,15, 20 years from now that we're going to see--cancer" says Dr. Soto.

As an attmept to protect the public, oil impact advisories were constantly being put up and taken down across area beaches during the largest oil spill in our nation's history. But they eventually came down for good after testing was conducted by public health officials

Gail Allen of the Walton County Health Department said the signs were taken down as part of a joint operations effort with the county.
"Based on both water samples and sediment testing, there was no level of chemicals of concern that would cause a negative health impact" said Allen on August 16th.

But Dr. Soto isn't buying it:
"Remember, these are volatile compounds. They do evaporate, but where do they evaporate? They evaporate in the atmosphere and makes for other gases, and they don't back down on the rain. They remain in the air too, and that's why we cannot safely say we are ok now. These are very dangerous compounds."

Dr. Soto did say these toxic chemicals are derived from other products too --- such as dyes, pesticides, and fertilizers. Up to what degree becomes normal depends on how quickly the body can filter them out.

In part two of this story Dr. Soto will talk about the long term effects these chemicals can have on your health.

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  • by Mark on Nov 15, 2010 at 08:42 PM
    I do not appreciate the sentence "It has been 6 months since the oil spill." It's been 3 months since the oil stopped spilling. I wouldn't have issue if the word started was tagged in the end, but as such it presents a distorted picture of how long ago this was happening, which can insidiously color how we react and think about the information presented. I do not like how in the media how quickly this disaster has been dropped, how like it's all wrapped up, very past tense. The only thing exciting was the gushing, and now that that's gone, well there's no more to see or problems to think about and be conscious of as citizens in a democratic republic. But,.. thank you for even doing this story.
  • by CR Location: Bellingham WA on Nov 12, 2010 at 08:40 PM
    Thank you for airing the truth about how bad it is in the gulf, most of the nation has moved on thanks to corporate control. This criminal spill and all the crimes since by BP and the government seems to be going unpunished, may rewarded, including the doctors it appears. My thoughts are often with those in this massive mess, I pray you all can get out of there! --and that would make the news! : a mass exodus, and what is needed for your health and to grab the attention of the lamestream media?
  • by Trisha Location: Trisha Springstead RN on Nov 12, 2010 at 12:45 PM
    Dear Dr Soto, I am in Hernando County Florida and I just want to say thank God the world has a Doctor like you. Now wouldn't it be nice if the Hospitals and Doctors in Hernando County would WAKE UP and realize that we need to be prepared for a DISASTER, and learn something new for once. While we are at it maybe they might realize that Antibiotics, antifunguals and steroids don't fix everything. Poison is poison is poison, as a lowly nurse, may I say thank you for the work you are doing. Prayers and Blessings, Trisha Springstead RN
8195 Front Beach Road Panama City Beach, FL 32407 Station: 850-234-7777 News: 850-230-5221 Fax: 850-233-6647
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