The More You Know!

Every year, National Poison Prevention Week (NPPW) takes place during the third week of March. The mission of this cause is to raise awareness for poison prevention nationwide. This awareness week is an opportunity to highlight the dangers of poisonings for people across various communities and interests. Regardless of your occupation, hobby, or lifestyle, there are many situations that can present a toxic risk. Mindfulness and preventative education can curb exposure rates and change the statistics for good. 

 According to Poison.org, In 2017, the 55 U.S. poison control centers provided telephone guidance for nearly 2.12 million human poison exposures.

 If recreational boating, sailing, or days hanging around the marina are part of your professional life or leisurely time, it is important to know the most prevalent carcinogenic dangers. Wrenching on your watercraft can expose toxins hidden below the deck.

Marine Toxins

Asbestos:
Asbestos is a natural material that is extremely resistant to heat and water. Due to the versatility of use and inexpensive application, asbestos was widely used across the globe up until the 1980s. This fibrous mineral was a common additive across a variety of building materials and spanned across industries and nations. Exposure and inhalation of this toxin has been proven to onset the development of mesothelioma cancer, known for its notoriously aggressive prognosis. In the marine world, asbestos is commonly discovered in its highest concentration in marine panels. These boards are often used as partitions and liners in watercraft to protect a vessel from damage like fires or floods. While asbestos is more commonly associated with large maritime vessels, such as navy ships it can unfortunately be present on recreational boats as well. It is important to note, asbestos is not a hazard when fully intact and undisturbed. If you find yourself performing heavy work on any watercraft it is important to understand the places this poison may be hidden. 

Marine substances that could include asbestos:

●     Glue, Cement, Putty

●     Marine panel linings

●     Bedding compounds

●     Adhesives, sealants, epoxys

●     Engine gaskets, seals

●     Electrical casing

●     Used to thicken certain resins 

●     Hull Insulation

Algae Blooms: 

Toxic algae or harmful algae blooms (HABs)refers to a particular type of algae found in lakes, oceans and streams called red tide, blue-green algae, or known scientifically as cyanobacteria. Harmful algal blooms are a major environmental problem in all 50 states. This type of algae is a natural part of the ecosystem of a body of water, but sometimes rapid growth can present a serious health hazard. You can identify a bloom by the cloudy color of the water, the algae will begin to rise to the surface creating a blue or green layer of scum. Depending on the species of algae, these blooms can be toxic to both humans and animals.

 

What are the effects of harmful algal blooms?

●     Produce extremely dangerous toxins that can sicken or kill people and animals

●     Create dead zones in the water. Harming plants & fish

●     Increase time and costs for the treatment of drinking water

●     Hurt local industries, businesses, tourism, food supply

Chemicals Pollutants: 

Common chemical pollutants from boats include antifreeze, cleaning solvents, detergents, diesel, gasoline, and oil. Oftentimes a marina can become a hub for high levels of these toxins. Not only do these chemicals pollute waterways, they are detrimental to human health if mistakenly ingested. If you knowingly come into close contact with a chemical substance, call your local poison control center to assess the specific situation.

In conclusion, its awareness, education, and prevention that helps to promote safer recreational boating. The extra effort that goes into taking these mindful steps of precautions will only help to sustain the wellbeing of your health and your hobby. For more information on NPPW and additional resources on toxins, explore the Poison Helpwebpage.

Jess Testa