Below are answers to common health concerns around the oil spill in English Bay. If you have more health-related questions or concerns about the oil spill, please contact the Health Protection general number at Vancouver Coastal Health: 604-675-3800.
The public is advised not to swim or submerge in water until the posted advisory signs come down. We also advise to avoid contact with wet sand up to the high tide mark. This advisory applies to pets as well.
Vancouver Coastal Health will advise the City of Vancouver and District of West Vancouver to take down the signs when we have confirmed that beaches are free of visible oil, and lab analysis of water and beach samples show no harmful levels of oil present.
There is no health risk to the general public. There is only a risk to those who come into contact with the oil itself from the spill.
What should I do if I have touched contaminated water or sand and have oil on me?
Wash your skin with soap and water, and launder any contaminated clothing before wearing them again. You may have to discard your clothing and shoes as the oil can be difficult to remove.
We advise to avoid contact with the oil, and also be aware that pets should not have contact with it either. You may get redness or a rash on the skin from irritation due to the oil. It is possible to have a headache or nausea from the oil’s smell. Depending on the degree of contact, there may be other symptoms. Please seek medical attention if you do feel ill.