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The Public Health Ministry have inspected seafood from the coast off Rayong that was hit by a crude oil spill and found no heavy metal or mercury in excess of safe levels.
252 urine samples were tested from 1,522 people exposed to the oil during the cleanup on Ao Phrao beach, no irregularities were found. The urine samples were taken from volunteer cleaners, members of the media and agency staff that visited the area. Some of those tested registered for follow-up testes over the next five years with annual examinations.
Tests were also carried out on eight samples of green mussels and fish collected from local markets no Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon and mercury, all harmful to humans, were not found in the samples. Test results for arsenic, lead and cadmium are expected to be released next week.
The ministry will monitor the health of the local people and give them physical and psychological care where needed as well as educating them on how to choose safe drinking water and seafood.
The Department of Marine and Coastal Resources is conducting an inspection of seven aspects of the coastal ecosystem – oceanography, coastal ecology, coral reefs, marine seagrass, mangroves, rare marine life and seabirds – to determine if it has been affected by the spill.
Natural Resources and Environment Minister Vichet Kasemthongsri said that the results from this study would decide how much environmental damage has been done, if any, as that would be used for reference in any future lawsuits demanding compensation. He also said that the department is working on cleaning the beach at Ao Phrao and dealing with oil in the sea and near Koh Samet.