Noted Scientist Says Gulf Residents Are Already Experiencing “Chronic Effects” of the Oil Spill, Including “Liver, Kidney and Central Nervous System Damage”

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My regular readers know I (proudly) work with the Louisiana Environmental Action Network (LEAN), and some of the organization’s work is being highlighted in a story that’s gone viral this weekend. The report focuses on LEAN chemist Wilma Subra and her blood work on eight BP cleanup workers. She found dangerously high levels of volatile organic chemicals (VOCs) in all the samples.

AlterNet conducted a detailed interview with the noted scientist, and got a chilling assessment of the spill’s health impacts. From the article: “… Subra, who is also a microbiologist and the recipient of a 1999 MacArthur Fellows ‘genius grant’ for her environmental work, pointed out that coastal residents have already entered an early phase of long-term exposure, where they’re experiencing chronic effects such as liver, kidney and central nervous system damage, decreased lung function and heart disease… ‘A whole host of different kinds of cancers can follow,’ she added, including cancer of the lungs, liver, kidneys and blood.”

The story touches on the media and the nation moving on (and other issues), but it is really a warning that embracing the “Mission Accomplished” attitude means that many BP spill victims who are sick now will be abandoned, and that many more who will be sick later are certain to face their illnesses on their own. Ms. Subra continues to bring needed attention to the human health effects of the worst environmental disaster in our nation’s history.

Unfortunately, this is a must-read for anyone following the Gulf disaster: http://www.alternet.org/environment/148737/bp_stock_rebounds,_media_moves_on,_but_gulf_residents_are_bracing_for_a_mammoth_health_crisis_from_the_spill

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Stuart H. Smith is an attorney based in New Orleans fighting major oil companies and other polluters.
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