Oil Field Contaminants
Animals come into contact with the petroleum industry which is an integral part of our lives. There is an order of events to the procedures that occur in the petroleum industry. Some events are more hazardous to animals than others. Problems concerning domestic animals and wildlife can occur at most of these events.
Toxicity of the oils vary with the volatile constituents of the crude and length of time oil has been exposed to the atmosphere, i.e., the more volatile, the more toxic. Problems that may result from animal contact with the oil industry include aspiration with low viscosity (foreign body pneumonia) oils, primary skin irritants and sensitizes, central nervous system depression, and gastrointestinal irritation. There are associated specific clinical signs and histopathological lesions that reference these systems. Veterinary toxicologists should be involved in these cases to assist in case preparation, to interpret data and assess if the animals are truly intoxicated or if there are underlying disease problems.
Discarded chemicals and explosives are possible hazards in the exploration process. The drilling process potentially has many hazards. These include: lead (from grease, paint and discarded motor oil), drilling mud, salt water, oil and toxic chemicals (used in drilling operations), caustic acids and alkalis, arsenicals and organophosphate esters (used extensively as antioxidants and antifoaming agents). These all constitute hazards to livestock and wildlife in the vicinity. This may be the most hazardous phase.
Production is when the reservoir of oil has been perforated. A group of tanks, known as a battery, is erected for storing the oil before being emptied into a tank truck or pipeline. The potential hazards to livestock during this phase of operation include heavy metals, caustic chemicals, salt water (salt poisoning), petroleum hydrocarbons, and mechanical injury from the pumping equipment.
Transportation is a phase of production that hazards exist from pipeline breaks and pitch (coal tar), paint and other chemicals used to maintain pipelines. Refining, although closely regulated, through accident or carelessness, result in contamination of land and water from various effluents and emissions. Distribution may not be too hazardous unless the chemicals produced are inherently toxic, i.e.,TOCP, triaryl phosphates, etc., or they are mis-used.
Since there are many intersections for animals and the petroleum industry, veterinary toxicologist are extermely beneficial to help with diagnosis, possible treatments and determination of toxic events. Garland, Bailey and Associates are experienced in petroleum cases and able to help you in any aspect of case development and assessment.
Information contained on this page is representative of knowledge the Veterinary Toxicologists at Garland, Bailey and Associates currently possess. Every effort is made to make sure information on these pages is accurate and timely but is provided as an example and is not intended to be suitable for courtroom or other legal actions. Any photographs, drawings or pictures are intended only as examples and do not imply contamination or defamation of any particular product or manufacturing label.
This web site was written and is maintained by Lone Star Scientific. This site was last updated in November, 1998.
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