The recent BP oil spill is one of the worst in US history sending 210,000 gallons of crude into the Gulf of Mexico each day.
Christi Paul looks at the health impact of the spill in today's Health Minute.
Health experts are testing the air, water, and food sources to monitor for potential health hazards from the gulf oil spill.
Right now, they say they are most concerned about clean-up workers and volunteers who have the highest exposure to the oil.
So far, air quality testing on shore remains at normal levels, but the vapors and pollutants from controlled burns are being monitored.
Inhaling vapors or touching the crude can be harmful.
The fumes can irritate the airways and cause dizziness, nausea, or headaches.
People with asthma or other respiratory conditions are the most susceptible and should try to stay indoors when they smell gas-like odors.
Oil can be toxic to the skin, especially for children, so avoid direct contact.
If exposed, wash with soap and water.
If you notice a rash or dark, sticky spots, consult a health care provider.
Health officials are looking into the potential long-term impact of the oil spill, particularly on the environment and our food.
Oil contains carcinogens and if coastlines get saturated with oil, these substances may accumulate in the food chain, elevating cancer risks.
Regulatory agencies are testing seafood to ensure that contaminated items do not get to market.
They say seafood available now came from non-contaminated waters and is safe.
Experts say the spill is not expected to affect drinking water but water quality will be checked for safety.
For today's Health Minute, i'm Christi Paul.
Viewers with disabilities can get assistance accessing this station's FCC Public Inspection File by contacting the station with the information listed below. Questions or concerns relating to the accessibility of the FCC's online public file system should be directed to the FCC at 888-225-5322, 888-835-5322 (TTY), or firstname.lastname@example.org.