Oil spill exposure heightens risk of cancer, diseases, says doctor | Inquirer News
MARITIME TRAGEDY IN ORIENTAL MINDORO

Oil spill exposure heightens risk of cancer, diseases, says doctor

/ 05:04 AM April 27, 2023

Wearing protective gear, fisherfolk in Pola, Oriental Mindoro who lost their livelihood to the oil spill now do cash-for-work clearing oil slicks along the shores in this photo taken last month.


CLEANUP. Wearing protective gear, fisherfolk in Pola, Oriental Mindoro who lost their livelihood to the oil spill now do cash-for-work clearing oil slicks along the shores in this photo taken last month. Photo from Protect VIP

A group of doctors has warned of an increased risk of developing cancer from exposure to oil spill that has contaminated the shores of different towns in Oriental Mindoro province.

In a forum on Tuesday, Dr. Kenneth Coo, chair of the committee on crisis preparedness and management of the Philippine College of Physicians, cited a 2010 study on the Gulf of Mexico oil spill that found a possible link between cancer cases and maritime tragedy.

ADVERTISEMENT

He said people most at risk for this disease are first responders, fisherfolk as well as residents in affected communities who are exposed to the following toxic chemicals found in crude oil: benzene, toluene, xylene, ethylbenzene, oxylene, styrene, sulfur and nitrogen.

FEATURED STORIES

On Feb. 28, oil tanker MT Princess Express, carrying some 800,000 liters of industrial fuel sank off Naujan town in Oriental Mindoro. The province was placed under a state of calamity as other towns and cities were also affected by the slick, which also reached parts of Palawan, Antique and Verde Island in Batangas City.

Philippine Coast Guard personnel and volunteers from local governments and communities have been conducting cleanup on coastlines hit by the spill.

Among the malignancies to watch out for, Coo said, were leukemia, lung cancer, skin cancer, prostate cancer, mesothelioma and multiple myeloma (bone marrow cancer).

Aside from cancer, other long-term health effects of the oil spill include decreased immunity as well as heart, liver, lung and reproductive problems.

People affected by the damage caused by the oil spill may also develop mental health illnesses, such as anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress, added Coo.

“We have to be very careful… our doctors in Mindoro should [monitor its] effects on respiratory and cancer [on affected people],” he said.

ADVERTISEMENT

People exposed to the chemicals may undergo baseline, or screening, tests, such as a complete blood count and chest X-ray, he added.

But Coo pointed out that further studies on the maritime tragedy in Mexico in 2010, also known as the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, are still ongoing. It is said to be the largest maritime oil spill in history.

—KATHLEEN DE VILLA
Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Your subscription has been successful.

Subscribe to our daily newsletter

By providing an email address. I agree to the Terms of Use and acknowledge that I have read the Privacy Policy.

TAGS: MT Princess Empress, oil spill diseases, Oriental Mindoro oil spill

© Copyright 1997-2024 INQUIRER.net | All Rights Reserved

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.