There is a wide ranging debate on creosote health effects these days, due to many health risks associated with it. In this article we will see what they are...
Creosote is the name used to describe a number of products which include wood creosote, coal tar creosote, etc. It is also used to describe the black oily substance which builds up inside chimney flutes, due to incomplete burning of wood or coal. Creosote is also created commercially by treating beech and other woods to high temperature or also from resin of the creosote bush. According to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), there are many negative creosote health effects. Let's see what they are.
Creosote Health Hazards
Exposure to creosotes, coal tar, etc. can cause minor to serious health effects.
Eating food or drinking water contaminated with high level of creosote can cause burning in the mouth and throat and also lead to sharp stomach pain and stomach convulsions.
If it comes in contact with the eyes, it can cause burning sensation in the eyes. It can also cause chemical burns of the surface of the eyes.
Creosote health effects can also be caused due to consumption of herbal remedies which contain creosote bush leaves. It often can cause damage to the liver or to the kidney.
Brief contact with creosote can cause severe irritation of the skin and result in skin rashes.
Some people have also suffered from convulsions and mental confusion after they have come in contact with creosote.
Longer exposure increases creosote health risks and can cause irritation of the respiratory tract.
Kidney and liver problems have also been reported as a side effect of creosote exposure.
If a person is exposed to creosote for an extended period of time, the vapors can cause increased sensitivity to sunlight and damage to the cornea.
Some reports also indicate skin cancer and cancer of the scrotum from long exposure to low levels of creosote.
What Can Cause Creosote Exposure?
There are a number of ways a person can be exposed to creosote without really noticing that the person is indeed exposed to it.
Using skin products to treat eczema or psoriasis, which contain creosote is one of the common ways of exposure.
Consumption of dietary herbal supplements, herbal remedies made from leaves of the creosote bush is another method in which the person can be exposed to creosote.
If a person works in wood preservative, coke producing, or asphalt industries, there are chances of the person being exposed to creosote.
Exposure to creosote treated wood for building fences, bridges, railroad tracks, etc. can also result in a person coming in contact with creosote.
Living in wood houses, which are treated, can also lead to creosote contact either to the skin or through air.
A person may consume water contaminated with creosote hazardous waste, which can expose him to creosote.
To reduce the negative creosote health effects, you will have to undertake some steps. If you reside in an area where there is a wood preservation facility or gas manufacturing plant in the vicinity, then it is recommended you use long sleeved shirts and long pants, even when you are working in the garden. Ensure that children do not come in contact with creosote treated wood when they are playing near railroad tracks, in and around ditches which are closer to utility poles, old barns, etc. Avoid the usage of herbal remedies or medications which contain creosote bush. It is better to seek alternative medicines. In case a person is exposed to creosote at the workplace, then it is recommended that the person take a shower before heading home, so that the chemical is not transmitted back home through clothes, tools or other objects from the workplace. For any complication, do not waste time and visit your health care professional immediately.