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Crude oil is dangerous, and may cause a variety of physiological effects. However, so far, complaints have been based on exposure to chemicals being used to combat the spill. The following paragraph and list is from

Crude oil is a complex mixture of chemicals that have varying abilities to be absorbed into the body through the skin, lungs, and during digestion of food and water. Most components of crude oil enter the bloodstream rapidly when they are inhaled or swallowed. Crude oil contains chemicals that readily penetrate cell walls, damage cell structures, including DNA, and alter the function of the cells and the organs where they are located. Crude oil is toxic, and ingredients can damage every system in the body:

nervous system, including the brain
reproductive/urogenital system
endocrine system
circulatory system
gastrointestinal system
immune system
sensory systems
musculo-skeletal system

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