Could Petroleum Be Causing Your Disability?
Petroleum based chemicals used in consumer products and job environments are being found to cause significant attritional (or weakening effects) to the nervous and immune systems after prolonged exposure.
What exactly does the research mean and what are Petroleum based chemicals?
Petroleum based products are the residues that form during the refining process of petroleum. Many various forms of residues result during this process, each one used in numerous various products. While the refined petroleum is most commonly known because of it use in a range of fuel oils and gasoline, the various residues are part of the chemical mistures that produce plastics which in turn are used to produce millions of goods throughout the world. A list of petroleum based products can be found here, and include everything from ammonia, antifreeze, dyes, enamels, fertilizers, and floor waxes to dentures, deoderants, detergents, cold creams, and food preservatives. In fact, many of the products that are pettroleum based we rely upon to save our lives such as parachutes, motocycle helmuts, even heart valves.
However, doctors and researchers at the University of Florida and University of South Florida Medical Libraries, have been working tirelessly to compile information at CHEM-TOX on the prolonged effects of exposure to petroleum based products to our health. Illnesses identified in the medical research include adult and child cancers, numerous neurological disorders immune system weakening, autoimmune disorders, asthama, allergies, infertility, miscarriage, and child behavior disorders including learning disabilities, mental retardation, hyperactivity and ADD (attention deficit disorders). However, researchers have had difficulty in identifying a specific chemical as the original cause of these health disorders as many petroleum chemicals appear to work in tandem, sometimes even combining their harmful effects. Furthermore, there seem to be many routes by which these medical problems develope including improper DNA expression, weakening DNA repair, accelerating gene loss, degeneration of the liver and kidneys which function as the body’s detoxification centers, and gradual weakening of the brain’s primary defense, the Blood Brain Barrier.
While petroleum based chemical are required by the EPA to be tested for a variety of health effects, they are currently not required to test for the potential causing of subtle neurological damage, which include such things as memory, personality, and behavioral effects.