3 June 2010
Date: Thu, 3 Jun 2010 10:43:02 -0500 (CDT)
From: emr-isac <emr-isac[at]govdelivery.com>
Subject: EMR-ISAC CIP Bulletin 3-10
Emergency Management and Response
Information Sharing and Analysis Center
June 3, 2010
NOTE: This Bulletin will be distributed as necessary to provide members of
the Emergency Services Sector with timely, important, unclassifeied information
potentially affecting the protection of their critical infrastructures.
For further information, contact the Emergency Management and Response-
Information Sharing and Analysis Center (EMR-ISAC) at (301) 447-1325 or by
e-mail at email@example.com.
The EMR-ISAC, in collaboration with the
Department of Homeland Security Office of Health Affairs, prepared this bulletin
regarding total petroleum hydrocarbons (TPH)
to address potential concerns from
Emergency Services Sector departments and agencies when responding to incidents
in the vicinity of crude oil contamination. The
Sheet delivers general information
in a question and answer format that can be used as a guide to protect the
health of first responders who may be exposed to TPH in the performance of
their duties.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns =
First Priority for the Emergency
to use the decontamination procedures set by your department before eating,
drinking, or using the toilet during the workday; and do a full decontamination,
including a shower if available, at the end of each shift.
Wash and sanitize immediately if exposed to
Rubber type steel toe/shank footwear will
protect feet from injury and from oil exposure.
Wear oil-resistant gloves when in contact
with oil and oil waste, and outer durable gloves when handling debris.
Use hearing protection in noisy environments.
Know your medicines, allergies, and blood
If in doubt, contact
Do not stand in or come in contact with unknown
liquids or substances.
Hydrocarbons from which one hydrogen
atom has been removed are
are different types of hydrocarbons. The majority of hydrocarbons found
naturally occur in crude
oil, where decomposed organic matter provides an abundance of carbon
and hydrogen which, when bonded, can
catenate to form seemingly
Health Statement for Total Petroleum Hydrocarbons (TPH)
This public health statement tells you
about total petroleum hydrocarbons (TPH) and the effects of exposure.
What are total petroleum hydrocarbons
Total Petroleum Hydrocarbons (TPH) is
a term used to describe a broad family of several hundred chemical compounds
that originally come from crude oil. In this sense, TPH is really a
mixture of chemicals. They are called hydrocarbons because almost all
of them are made entirely from hydrogen and carbon. Crude oils can
vary in how much of each chemical they contain, and so can the petroleum
products that are made from crude oils. Most products that contain
TPH will burn. Some are clear or light-colored liquids that evaporate
easily, and others are thick, dark liquids or semi-solids that do not
evaporate. Many of these products have characteristic gasoline, kerosene,
or oily odors. Because modern society uses so many petroleum-based
products (for example, gasoline, kerosene, fuel oil, mineral oil, and asphalt),
contamination of the environment by them is potentially widespread.
Contamination caused by petroleum products will contain a variety of these
How can TPH enter and leave my
TPH can enter and leave your body when
you breathe it in air; swallow it in water, food, or soil; or touch it.
Most components of TPH will enter your bloodstream rapidly when you breathe
them as a vapor or mist or when you swallow them. Some TPH compounds
are widely distributed by the blood throughout your body and quickly break
down into less harmful chemicals. Others may break down into more harmful
chemicals. Other TPH compounds are slowly distributed by the blood
to other parts of the body and do not readily break down. When you
touch TPH compounds, they are absorbed more slowly and to a lesser extent
than when you breathe or swallow them. Most TPH compounds leave your body
through urine or when you exhale air containing the compounds.
How can TPH affect my body?
The compounds in different TPH fractions
affect the body in different ways. Some of the TPH compounds, particularly
the smaller compounds such as benzene, toluene, and xylene (which are present
in gasoline), can affect the human central nervous system. If exposures
are high enough, death can occur. Breathing toluene at concentrations
greater than 100 parts per million (100 ppm) for more than several hours
can cause fatigue, headache, nausea, and drowsiness. When exposure is stopped,
the symptoms will go away. However, if someone is exposed for a long
time, permanent damage to the central nervous system can occur. One
TPH compound (n-hexane) can affect the central nervous system in a different
way, causing a nerve disorder called "peripheral neuropathy" characterized
by numbness in the feet and legs and, in severe cases, paralysis. This has
occurred in workers exposed to 5002,500 ppm of n-hexane in the air.
Swallowing some petroleum products, such as gasoline and kerosene, causes
irritation of the throat and stomach, central nervous system depression,
difficulty breathing, and pneumonia from breathing liquid into the lungs.
The compounds in some TPH fractions can also affect the blood, immune system,
liver, spleen, kidneys, developing fetus, and lungs. Certain TPH compounds
can be irritating to the skin and eyes.
Is there a medical test to determine
whether I have been exposed to TPH?
There is no medical test that shows if
you have been exposed to TPH. However, there are methods to determine
if you have been exposed to some TPH compounds, fractions, or petroleum
products. For example, a breakdown product of n-hexane can be measured
in the urine. Benzene can be measured in exhaled air and a metabolite of
benzene, phenol, can be measured in urine to show exposure to gasoline or
to the TPH fraction containing benzene. Exposure to kerosene or gasoline
can be determined by its smell on the breath or clothing. Methods also
exist to determine if you have been exposed to other TPH compounds.
For example, ethylbenzene can be measured in the blood, urine, breath, and
some body tissues of exposed people. However, many of these tests may
not be available in your doctor's office. If you have TPH compounds
in your body, they could be from exposure to many different products, and
tests cannot determine exactly what you were exposed to. Tests are
useful if you suspect that you were exposed to a particular product or waste
that contains TPH. For information on tests for exposure to specific
TPH compounds, see the ATSDR toxicological profiles for benzene, toluene,
total TPHsylenes, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, and hexane.
What recommendations has the federal government made to protect human
Regulations and recommendations can be
expressed in not-to-exceed levels in air, water, soil, or food that are usually
based on levels that affect animals. Then they are adjusted to help
protect people. Sometimes these not-to-exceed levels differ among federal
organizations because of different exposure times (an 8-hour workday or a
24-hour day), the use of different animal studies, or other factors.
Recommendations and regulations are also periodically updated as more information
becomes available. For the most current information, check with the
federal agency or organization that provides it. Although there are
no federal regulations or guidelines for TPH in general, the government has
developed regulations and guidelines for some of the TPH fractions and compounds.
These are designed to protect the public from the possible harmful health
effects of these chemicals. To protect workers, the Occupational Safety and
Health Administration (OSHA) set a legal limit of 500 parts of petroleum
distillates per million parts of air (500 ppm) in the workplace.
For more information:
to Expect from the Oil Spill and How to Protect Your
Institute of Environmental Health Sciences: Oil Spill Emergency Response
Institute of Environmental Health Sciences: Oil Spill Response Training Tool
- Oil Spill Cleanup Initiative: Safety Awareness for Oil Spill Cleanup
Workers (PDF, 1.93 MB)
Fact Sheet Deepwater Horizon / Mississippi Canyon 252 Oil Spill (PDF,
Occupational Exposures while Working with Dispersants During the Gulf Oil
Spill Response (PDF, 87.3 KB)
DISCLAIMER of ENDORSEMENT
The U.S. Fire Administration/EMR-ISAC does not endorse the
organizations sponsoring linked web sites, and does not endorse the views
they express or the products/services they offer.
FAIR USE NOTICE
This Bulletin may contain copyrighted material that was not specifically
authorized by the copyright owner. EMR-ISAC personnel believe this
constitutes fair use of copyrighted material as provided for
in section 107 of the U.S. Copyright Law. If you wish to use copyrighted
material contained within this document for your own purposes that go beyond
fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.
DHS and the
FBI encourage recipients of this document to report information concerning
suspicious or criminal activity to DHS and/or the FBI. The DHS National Operation
Center (NOC) can be reached by telephone at 202-282-9685 or by e-mail at
The FBI regional phone numbers can be found online at
For information affecting the private sector and critical infrastructure,
contact the National Infrastructure Coordinating Center (NICC), a sub-element
of the NOC. The NICC can be reached by telephone at 202-282-9201 or by e-mail
When available, each report submitted should include the date, time, location,
type of activity, number of people and type of equipment used for the activity,
the name of the submitting company or organization, and a designated point
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