More studies are linking crude oil products to cancer. A study suggests that with the rising cases of oil spills, pipeline destruction and gas production in the Niger Delta and over-dependence on petroleum products, Nigerians are in for a massive health catastrophe.
A new study published in a journal, PLOS ONE, found that young people diagnosed with acute lymphocytic leukaemia are more likely to live in areas of high-density oil and gas development compared to others diagnosed with other types of cancer.
The researchers at the Colorado School of Public Health at CU Anschutz, United States, however, observed no association between non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and high-density oil and gas development.
The study is titled “Childhood hematologic cancer and residential proximity to oil and gas development.”
Lead investigator and Assistant research professor at the Colorado School of Public Health, Dr. Lisa McKenzie, said: “Over 378,000 Coloradans and millions of Americans currently live within a mile of at least one oil and gas well, and petroleum development continues to expand into residential areas.
“The findings from our registry-based case-control study indicate that young Coloradans diagnosed with one type of childhood leukaemia are more likely to live in the densest areas of oil and gas sites.
Meanwhile, studies published in American Journal of Environmental Sciences found that more residents of the oil-rich Niger Delta region of Nigeria are at a greater risk of developing different types of cancer due to exposure to crude oil pollutants.
The studies, which predict ‘epidemic’ of cancers in oil producing areas of Nigeria by 2025, stated that more than 25 per cent of Nigerians are at an increased risk of developing cancer due to exposure to toxic chemicals from crude oil pollution, Polynuclear Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs). They also suggest that PAHs can be genotoxic; that is, the damage caused can be inherited.
Another study had established that crude oil, even in low quantity, could harm not just human health but that of fish. The study concluded that people of the Niger Delta are at a higher risk of cancer because high concentrations of this toxic chemical were found in the fishes they eat.