There is natural radioactivity and heavy metals in crude oils that may pose a health risk. - GreenMedInfo Summary
Natural radioactivity and trace metals in crude oils: implication for health.
Environ Geochem Health. 2009 Feb;31(1):61-9. Epub 2008 Mar 5. PMID: 18320332
Department of Geology, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Nigeria.
Crude oil samples were collected from six different fields in the central Niger Delta in order to determine their natural radioactivity and trace element contents, with the aim of assessing the radiological health implications and environmental health hazard of the metals, and also to provide natural radioactivity baseline data that could be used for more comprehensive future study in this respect. The activity concentrations of the radionuclides were measured using a well, accurately calibrated and shielded vertical cryostat, Canberra coaxial high-purity germanium (HPGe) detector system, and the derived doses were evaluated. The metal concentrations were determined by the graphite furnace atomic absorption spectroscopic (GFAAS) method. The radionuclides identified with reliable regularity belong to the decay series of naturally occurring radionuclides headed by (238)U and (232)Th along with the non-decay series radionuclide, (40)K. The averaged activity concentrations obtained were 10.52 +/- 0.03 Bq kg(-1), 0.80 +/- 0.37 Bq kg(-1) and 0.17 +/- 0.09 Bq kg(-1) for (40)K, (238)U and (232)Th, respectively. The equivalent doses were very low, ranging from 0.0028 to 0.012 mSv year(-1) with a mean value of 0.0070 mSv year(-1). The results obtained were low, and hence, the radioactivity content from the crude oils in the Niger delta oil province of Nigeria do not constitute any health hazard to occupationally exposed workers, the public and the end user. The concentrations of the elements (As, Cd, Co, Fe, Mn, Ni, Se and V) determined ranged from 0.73 to 202.90 ppb with an average of 74.35 ppb for the oil samples analysed. The pattern of occurrence of each element agreed with the earlier studies from other parts of the Niger Delta. It was obvious from this study and previous ones that the Niger Delta oils have low metal contents. However, despite the low concentrations, they could still pose an intrinsic health hazard considering their cumulative effects in the environment. Also, various studies on the impact of oil spillage and activities of oil exploration and production on organisms in the immediate environment suggest this.