Occupational exposure to chemicals is a daily occurrence for many workers in the offshore industry. However it is perhaps fair to say that emphasis on the associated health risks has been somewhat overshadowed by the very real safety risks offshore, together with a high degree of emphasis on the environmental impact of chemicals usage. To some degree the reduction of the safety and environmental risks has had a beneficial knock-on effect for health risks. However it can not be assumed that these go hand in hand, and indeed there is evidence that current restrictions on environmental discharge may actually be increasing the potential health risks to workers by modifying both operating practises and the selection of chemical agents. There is an increasing need therefore to gain a clearer understanding of the nature of chemical usage offshore in terms of the agents used, the potential for exposure and the resulting health risks.
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