According to the latest update from the Unified Command leading the oil spill response along the Orange County coastline, sampling teams have conducted water and sediment samples, and the water and sediment data received from Orange County samples do not indicate a public health concern for short-term exposures from the use of beaches in the county. This recommendation does not apply to fishing and harvesting activities, which are being addressed by state officials.
Additionally, oil contains hazardous chemicals, and for safety reasons, the public is asked not to handle any tar balls or oil. If skin contact occurs, wash the area with soap and water or baby oil. Avoid using solvents, gasoline, kerosene, diesel fuel, or similar products on the skin. These products, when applied to skin, present a greater health hazard than the tar ball itself. More information about tar balls is available at SoCalSpillResponse.com/tarballs.
“Based on the recent results of our air and water quality samples, we ask that our residents and visitors exercise caution if you are resuming recreational activities at our beaches in order to limit the risk of contaminants being absorbed through the skin, inhalation, or ingestion,” says Dr. Clayton Chau, County Health Officer and HCA Director. “As the oil response teams continue to monitor, inspect, and clean the beaches to ensure that appropriate cleanup actions are taken, please continue to refrain from consuming contaminated fish or seafood from the beaches until the fisheries closure declaration is lifted by state officials.” More information about the status of the fisheries closure is available at socalspillresponse.com/fisheries-closure.
Symptoms of exposure to the spilled oil may include irritation of the skin, eye, nose, and throat; headache; dizziness; nausea; upset stomach; vomiting; cough or shortness of breath. If you experience any symptoms that result from coming into contact with or inhaling oil contaminants or vapors, seek medical attention by contacting your local primary care provider, or going to a local urgent care center. If you are experiencing serious symptoms such as difficulty breathing or chest pain, call 911.
In response to the coastal oil spill, access to some beach areas may be limited or closed. Please visit www.ocgov.com/news for the latest information regarding beach status in Orange County, or your local city websites (e.g. huntingtonbeachca.gov, newportbeachca.gov).
Contact information about the Unified Command’s response to the oil spill as well as information for volunteering, donating, or submitting inquiries can be found on the centralized website, www.socalspillresponse.com.
If anyone encounters oiled wildlife, please avoid contact and call the Oiled Wildlife Care Network at (877) 823-6926.