|MadSci Network: Environment|
"Oil" contains many elements, but it is primarily Carbon and Hydrogen, which in and of themselves are not toxic. Oil is "toxic" to some organisms because it can impede surface processes such as gas/air exchange. It may clog bird feathers and mammal hair, making it hard for them to function. It can clog stomates on plants. None of these are toxic in the normal sense of poisonous, but cause death by interfereing with physical processes. In fact we use many oil based products for lotion on our skin. After all, oil was derived from living organisms.
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