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October 10, 2007

Peak Petroleum and Public Health

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: National Center for Environmental Health and Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia (Drs Frumkin and Hess and Mr Vindigni); and the Department of Emergency Medicine, Emory Medical School, Atlanta, Georgia (Dr Hess). Mr Vindigni is now with the Emory Medical School.

JAMA. 2007;298(14):1688-1690. doi:10.1001/jama.298.14.1688

Petroleum is a unique energy source; it is energy-dense, relatively stable, portable, and abundant. Since large-scale production began about 150 years ago, petroleum has become central to modern life. It is the precursor of nearly all transportation fuel, the source of heating oil, propane, and other fuels, and the starting point for chemical-building blocks such as ethylene, propylene, and xylene, which become polymers, resins, and other compounds, which in turn form products as diverse as plastics, solvents, textiles, lubricants, pesticides, and medications.

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