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The World in Medicine
May 19, 2004

Oil and Health

JAMA. 2004;291(19):2309. doi:10.1001/jama.291.19.2309-b

Oil exploration and extraction in Ecuador's Amazon Basin since the 1970s "has resulted in a public health emergency" for individuals living in oil-producing areas, according to a new report (Rev Panam Salud Publica. 2004;15:205-211 .

Oil companies have discharged more than 30 billion gallons of crude oil and toxic wastes into land and waterways of northeastern Ecuador. In the report, researchers affiliated with Umeå University International School of Public Health in Sweden and the "Manuel Amunárriz" Institute of Epidemiology and Community Health, in Coca, Ecuador, reviewed studies on environmental and health consequences of oil development in the region. These studies have found significantly higher cancer rates, elevated miscarriage rates, and other health problems among individuals living in oil-producing areas.

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