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DOH: Asthma, headaches recorded due to Mindoro oil spill

Some residents have reported headaches and dizziness, while one was admitted to a hospital due to asthma, following the oil spill from the sunken motor tanker in Oriental Mindoro, the Department of Health (DOH) said Tuesday.

At a press conference, DOH officer-in-charge Maria Rosario Vergeire said one individual based in Pola, Oriental Mindoro was admitted in a hospital due to an aggravated asthma. This patient was also discharged the next day after his/her condition was managed.

Meanwhile, others residing along the shoreline have reported short term symptoms like headaches and dizziness, which were managed in health care facilities after a couple of hours.

The MT Princess Empress sank on February 28 off Najuan while carrying 800,000 liters of industrial fuel. Oil spills were reported in several areas in Mindoro, prompting the coastal town of Pola to declare a state of calamity.

Vergeire explained the symptoms that people might get due to the oil spill depend on their mode of exposure.

“Halimbawa, sila ay naexpose sa hangin, maaaring ma-aggravate ang kanilang existing respiratory conditions katulad ng mga may hika, katulad ng mga may emphysema,” she said.

(If you are exposed to air, your existing respiratory conditions could be aggravated such as those with asthma and emphysema.)

“Kung kayo naman ay nakainom ng tubig na kontaminado, maaari kayong makaranas ng mga sintomas katulad ng pagsusuka, pagsakit ng tyan, at maaari ring pagtatae,” she added.

(If you drink contaminated water, you may experience symptoms such as vomiting, stomach ache, and possibly diarrhea.)

Vergeire advised people residing within 100 meters from the affected areas by the oil spill not to drink water from their own sources, and instead drink those supplied by the local government.

They should also wear industrial masks, and not just the regular face masks, while their elders and those who have lung conditions should be relocated to farther areas.

The Oriental Mindoro government has temporarily disallowed residents from using water from poso or underground water pumps to avoid the ingestion of possible contaminated water due to the oil spill. — RSJ, GMA Integrated News