Crude Oil and Human Health

Crude oil contains toxic chemicals that can make you very ill if you touch or are exposed to the fumes. Do not touch oil or attempt to help injured wildlife without the appropriate training and protective gear.

Download Our Factsheet: Crude Oil and Human Health

If you come into contact with oil or are expose to fumes, call your doctor. If you have a medical emergency, call 911.

The best way to prevent illness is to prevent exposure. Pathways of exposure include inhalation, ingestion and absorption through the skin or eyes. Pregnant women, children, the elderly and individuals with pre-existing medical conditions are at increased risk.

Human health impacts include:

  • Headaches.
  • Gastrointestinal disturbance including nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.
  • Dizziness, confusion and loss of balance.
  • Skin irritation and damage.
  • Eye, nose, throat and lung irritation.
  • Respiratory impacts, difficulty breathing and chemical pneumonia.
  • Damage to liver, lungs, kidneys and respiratory system.
  • Cardiovascular system stress.
  • Central nervous system effects and neurological damage.
  • Blood disorders, aplastic anemia and blood cancers such as leukemia.
  • Immune system damage and suppression.
  • Endocrine and hormone disruption.
  • Infertility, birth defects and mutations.

Thank you to Wilma Subra, of the Subra Company, for her invaluable input and research.

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CrudeOilAndYourHealthFactsheet.pdf42.66 KB
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