Health Risks Potentially Associated with Living Near a Refinery and a Large Harbor – Poisoning, Toxicology&Environmental Health Example

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"Health Risks Potentially Associated with Living Near a Refinery and a Large Harbor" is a decent example of a paper on poisoning, toxicology, and environmental health. Unlike other toxic substances, health risks from oil may be tough to identify since it takes a long time to affect individuals. People residing near oil refineries and safe harbors are familiar with hazardous air pollutants such as benzene that pose great health risks to individuals. Health risks are directly proportional to increased proximity to oil refineries: the closer you are, the higher the risk (Brender, Maantay,   & Chakraborty, 2011).

cute hazardous indices responsible for indicating neurological, hematological, and development health hazards show that people living near oil refineries experience severe health defects because of inhaling alkenes and benzenes. General health risks include loss of vision with time due to prolonged blurred vision incidences, constant headaches that might eventually cause brain damage, and nose bleeding. Frequent convulsing, ear infections, respiratory infections such as pneumonia and asthma, respiratory tract cancer, and digestion issues such as vomiting and ulcerative colitis are common acute symptoms. Long-term health risks are even more fatal.

Living near refineries and large harbors causes serious reproduction health issues due to inhaling fumes and ingesting contaminated food substances. (Simonesen et al. , 2018). Such reproduction problems begin with prior warning symptoms such as abdominal discomfort and irregular bleeding. With time, these reproduction problems advance to miscarriages, irregular menstruation cycles, miscarriages, or congenital disabilities. Seemingly, further exposure to contamination gases from oil refineries and big harbors leads to cancer. Children residing in such develop blood cancer referred to as leukemia with time. The highest risk of cancer is, however, respiratory tract cancer such as the throat or lung cancer.

Stomach cancer, bladder, and pancreatic cancers are also very prevalent in such areas. Additionally, other environmental health risks are so dangerous that they cause the death of individuals instantly. Oil is highly volatile and, in some cases, explodes into huge fires, leading to massive deaths and property loss. When the oil spills on the ground, it causes severe water pollution, which harms botany and animals nearby. Gas flares that result from oil production expose the communities around to health difficulties such as cancer, bronchitis, and dermatological infections. Define and explain the difference between a scientific study and anecdotal reports Anecdotal reports and scientific reports have different methods of verification.

Anecdotal involves testimonials on whether something is true or false, related, and unrelated data based on a person's experience. Scientific study is verified from the findings obtained by measuring, observing, and experimenting. Anecdotal can either be formal or semi-formal based on anecdotal findings in various fields such as sociology or anthropology (Brender,   Maantay,   & Chakraborty, 2011).   Formalization of anecdotal study involves several rules or protocols that are mostly rigorous to ensure that the method of data collection, analysis, and interpretation is determined.

On the other hand, scientific study refers to various techniques that investigate phenomena based on empirical and measurable data that is further subjected to critical logic and thinking. Explain why communities living near oil refineries might experience higher morbidity and mortality rates due to such confounders as age, race/ethnicity, social-economic level, and access to care. People living near oil refineries experience very high rates of mortality and morbidity. Oil refineries release chemicals, radon, and arsenic complexes, which take a toll on the residents' health.

People of low social, economic levels seek affordable residences by living next to refineries and several polluting businesses(Thomas et al. , 2019). Such people acquire cheap shelter by putting their health at great risk. Day-to-day toxic industry emissions and penetration of diesel particles into the lungs take a significant toll on the individuals' health. Such emissions increase the risk of fatal diseases such as cardiac arrest and strokes and frequent hospital admissions due to health conditions such as asthma. Additionally, an individual's race is a significant factor in increased mobility and mortality rates in communities living near oil refineries.

It is a worrying whammy of poverty, ethnicity, and surroundings that converge nationwide, creating communities next to pollution centers where nobody wants to reside. Black leadership in civil rights associations referred to it as environmental racism, which started in the late 1980s. Such places are so polluted that nobody wants to live there. Since blacks are more impoverished and disadvantaged economically than whites, they end up living near oil refineries.

Research shows that more than 50% of Americans that reside in areas within two kilometers of huge oil refineries are individuals of color (Thomas et al. , 2019). Poverty levels in such areas are twice higher as in ordinary places. People of color inhale toxic chemicals from these oil refineries leading to airborne related complications and sometimes death. Accessibility to health care is almost impossible for people living near oil refineries leading to increased mobility and mortality rates. Health centers' location is quite a distance from the oil refineries. This long-distance makes it very difficult to access them in case of any disease complications developed due to refinery emissions.

Additionally, health services are costly. Most people living near oil refineries have low social-economic status; hence can nether afford to take precautionary measures against any emissions or treat any health complications that may arise from oil refinery emissions. Discuss how the Multi-Criteria Integrated Resources Assessment (MIRA) could change the decision-making process concerning individual plans for the refinery and port. Due to the complexity of environmental problems, decisions on how to solve them are complicated as problems.

Several factors complicate the problems such as perceptions of stakeholders, science data, economic and relevant information, and regulation constraints further complicate the process. The definition of the problem and getting to a necessary distinct ground in making policies rule is an impossible decision (Salerno et al. , 2013). Such a problem is called a wicked problem. Making decisions on individual plans on the refinery and port requires environmental problem-solving decisions. Distinguishing between tame and wicked problems is the first step in solving such challenges. Elegant solutions address tame problems, involve stakeholders, and it is based on learning.

Stakeholders will advise the refinery management on how to reduce waste production hence prevent environmental pollution. Considering the lessons that other companies derived from setting up their refineries and ports, the management effectively strategizes how to reduce environmental effects for individuals who reside close to the port. Seemingly, MIRA is used to design an environmental performance index that demonstrates several indicators. The environmental performance index quantifies the environmental elements, conditions, and environmental uncertainty. All these factors dictate the extent of environmental pollution and its intensity on people living nearby (Salerno et al. , 2014).

When MIRA considers such factors, they might influence the investors to change the oil refinery's location. Additionally, the oil refinery management might decide to implement very stringent measures to dispose of their waste hence reduce the extent of environmental pollution. In addition to that, the industry may result in using technology more to provide labor rather than utilizing human labor. Reduced human exposure to oil refinery products reduces the number of human beings affected by oil refinery ventures. Resolving environmental problems using MIRA will make it easier to determine the environmental effects on the people residing near the oil refineries.

If the predicted environmental effects primarily affect human beings, the stakeholders might decide not to set up the oil refinery.


Brender, J. D., Maantay, J. A., & Chakraborty, J. (2011). Residential proximity to environmental hazards and adverse health outcomes. American journal of public health, 101(S1), S37-S52.

Salerno, C., Berchialla, P., Palin, L. A., Vanhaecht, K., & Panella, M. (2013). Cancer morbidity of residents living near an oil refinery plant in North-West Italy. International journal of environmental health research, 23(4), 342-351.

Simonsen, N., Scribner, R., Su, L. J., Williams, D., Luckett, B., Yang, T., & Fontham, E. T. (2010). Environmental exposure to emissions from petrochemical sites and lung cancer: the lower Mississippi interagency cancer study. Journal of environmental and public health, 2010.

Thomas, R. S., Bahadori, T., Buckley, T. J., Cowden, J., Deisenroth, C., Dionisio, K. L., & Higuchi, M. (2019). The next generation blueprint of computational toxicology at the US Environmental Protection Agency. Toxicological Sciences, 169(2), 317-332.

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