Personal safety is paramount!
Any amount of exposure to vapours from an oil spill can affect your health, the potential risks increase depending on the concentrations of the vapours and the length of time of exposure. In regards to this an indoor spill is likely to be more detrimental to your health compared to an outdoor spill.
Quite simply if you can smell oil you have been exposed and there is a potential risk.
Brief exposure to fuel oil will not usually cause long-term harm. Inhaling vapours in an enclosed area can result in short term symptoms, such as:
- Eye, throat and nose irritations.
Very long-term exposure or high concentrations of vapours within an enclosed space have the potential for more serious health problems, such as:
- Liver and kidney damage
- Increased blood pressure
- Other blood problems
Be aware though you can quickly become accustomed to the smell of oil and ultimately a false sense of the problem alleviating. Exposure can affect people differently. Young children and elderly people will be more susceptible to lower concentrations of vapour.
If symptoms persist once away from the source it is advisable to see a doctor.
The health risks and possible fire risk cannot be underestimated. Heating oil contains many substances of varying toxicity. The safest option is to remove yourself from the area or property and contact a specialist, or the fire service if the potential for fire is present.
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