Children face high risks from fuel oil exposure - DOH
by ES Subong
Iloilo City (2 October) -- Center for Health Development VI Human Resource Head Dr. Sofia Pulmones said that children are among the high risk populations as far as exposure to fuel oil is concerned.
Speaking during the 17th Nutrition Congress here, Dr.Pulmones said that children have disproportionately heavy exposures to many environmental agents compared with adults because they exhibit hand-to-mouth behavior and they play close to the ground.
She also said that 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 that such is the exposure children may get in the communities affected by the oil spill in the province of Guimaras, where the bunker oil spilled in the waters, is categorized as residual fuel oils or heavy fuel oils.
She also said 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 acute and chronic exposures on health and nutrition, Dr. Pulmones said that 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) [top]