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Oil producing areas residents at risk of cancer – study

09 April 2014, 19:33

Abuja - A study by local researchers has shown that people living in oil producing areas are at greater risk of developing different types of cancer due to exposure to crude oil pollutants.

 The new finding is contained in the March edition of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation Bulletin,

The report said that the research study was led by Dr Chimezie Anyakora of the Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry, College of Medicine, University of Lagos.

According to the study, about 25 percent of Nigerians are at increased risk of developing cancer due to exposure to toxic chemicals known as PAHs from crude oil pollution.

The researchers described PAHs as widespread class of environmental chemical pollutants which are a component of crude and refined petroleum and coal.

The researchers stated that PAHs could be genotoxic as the damaged caused could be inherited.

“Researchers from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Fisheries and a research institute in the U.S. found that some petroleum compounds act as ion channel blockers in the heart cells of young tunas.

"The petroleum compounds also disrupted normal cardiac function,’’ the study said.

The study said that the new findings were part of the Natural Resource Damage of Assessment conducted by NOAA and other federal and state trustee agencies.

It said the study followed the 2010 ``Deepwater Horizon’’ oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

The study said that the spill occurred across a large region where the western stock of the Atlantic blue fin tuna spawns raising the possibility that the eggs and larvae of valuable species were exposed to crude oil.

"Natural Resource Damage Assessments are used to determine liabilities after a spill and to help develop restoration plans,’’ the study said.

-     NAN

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