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Gulf of Mexico Oil Leak (British Petroleum)
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firefly



Joined: 27 Sep 2002
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http://www.nytimes.com/gwire/2011/04/21/21greenwire-questions-linger-about-effects-of-oil-spill-ch-46883.html?pagewanted=1

Questions Linger About Effects of Oil Spill, Chemicals on Gulf Coast Residents

By JEREMY P. JACOBS of Greenwire
Published: April 21, 2011

Andre Gaines was among thousands of unemployed Gulf Coast residents who saw an opportunity in the massive Gulf of Mexico oil spill last year.
More News From Greenwire

Gaines, an athletic 27-year-old from Lucedale, Miss., was quickly hired by a subcontractor for BP PLC, the oil company responsible for the leaking well. But after switching from working on boats to beach cleanup, Gaines said he developed a dry, hacking cough, as did most of his co-workers.

"It was like a circus," he recalled. "The oil and chemicals were contaminating the bus, our homes, our families."

The cough, nausea, and a rash on his arm forced him into the hospital. He wasn't able to see specialists familiar with chemical or oil exposure, he said, and the hospital sent him home. So three days later, he went to another hospital, which admitted him for two weeks. Test results, he said, came back inconclusive.

Now, Gaines, a father of two, said he still has spells of nausea, shortness of breath and headaches. And nobody, he said, seems to care.

"Who do we call? Our government is not talking about this," he said. "They took advantage of us."

An unscientific survey of nearly 1,000 Gulf Coast residents by the nonprofit Louisiana Bucket Brigade suggests Gaines is not alone. Nearly half of the surveyed residents said they began suffering coughs, eye irritation, headaches or other symptoms after the BP well began spewing more than 200 million gallons of oil into the Gulf and cleanup crews dispersed nearly 2 million gallons of chemicals to soak up the oil.

Assessing Gulf Coast health problems and determining whether they are related to the spill and cleanup is no easy task. The problem, advocates say, is that there is little access to health care or specialists familiar with treating oil and chemical exposures. Further, they say, no reliable registry of these health problems exists, though a $10 million federal study of the health effects of an oil spill was recently launched.

The lack of real-time data has led some to speculate that even if there is a widespread health impact, it will be months or years before anyone knows or does anything to help, prompting comparisons to the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska and the sluggish response to worker health issues following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

"A lot of people feel that they are sick from symptoms that started around the time of the oil spill and haven't been resolved," said Gina Solomon of the Natural Resources Defense Council. "They don't have a place to go to report their symptoms, get them assessed and catalogued to feel that their illnesses are being tracked in any way."

A year after the spill, there is still no government-sponsored registry of illnesses on the Gulf Coast. Immediately after the accident, the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals was tracking symptoms, but that effort ended last September.

The Bucket Brigade survey of 954 Gulf Coast residents from July to October of last year that was released last month found that nearly half reported an increase in symptoms like coughing, skin and eye irritation as well as headaches. Approximately the same percentage of people also said they believe they were exposed to oil or chemical dispersants.

The residents also reported a sudden onset of the symptoms directly after the spill.

Further, advocates say, there is a shortage of clinics specializing in environmental chemical exposures. The nearest, they say, is an Association of Occupational and Environmental Clinics-certified clinic in Tampa, Fla.

Several watchdogs said BP should be funding clinics and states or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention could undertake the tracking responsibilities. Without an increased effort, care for respiratory ailments and depression -- health problems that surfaced after the Exxon Valdez spill -- will continue to be lacking.

"There's been zero health care here, and we know how this turns out," said Anne Rolfes of the Louisiana Bucket Brigade, referring to problems after the Exxon Valdez spill. "We know what happens. That all began exactly how this is beginning."

BP insists it kept close tabs on chemical exposures of cleanup workers.

"That exposure monitoring consistently indicated that responders' exposures to chemicals of concern were well below the most conservative occupational exposure limits established by governmental authorities and voluntary professional organizations," BP America's Hejdi Feick said. "In fact, most exposure levels were below the detection limits of the devices being used to collect the samples."

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Post Fri Apr 22, 2011 8:40 am
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jakethesnake
guy who cried about wrestling being real


Joined: 03 Feb 2006
Posts: 6311
Location: airstrip one
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Good to hear things are back to normal. (cyan)

BP posts $5b+ in profit this quarter.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-14287697
Post Tue Jul 26, 2011 8:52 am
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