More and more people I talk to down here on the Gulf are hearing about serious health problems that are most likely associated with the BP spill. Symptoms range from temporary discomfort to what sounds to me like classic chemical poisoning. There’s a good blog post (see link below) about individual cases in and around Orange Beach, Alabama that offers some details.
In an editor’s note, the Locust Fork News-Journal website says they were seeking a national outlet for the story but decided to post because of an upcoming community health meeting. The report begins by noting that: “Wherever disaster strikes, there’s always an associated crud. There was the Exxon Valdez Crud. The Nine Eleven Crud. The Katrina Cough, and then the TVA coal ash cough. Now, along the entire coast of the Gulf of Mexico, there is the BP Crud, afflicting workers and the general population from Louisiana to Florida.”
Frankly, the entire report is deeply troubling, but I am particularly disturbed by the fact that residents are reporting that blood test results indicate: “… toxic chemicals directly associated with oil and gas production and the chemical dispersant Corexit, including ethylbenzene, xylenehigh and high levels of hexane, a hydrocarbon chiefly obtained by the refining of crude oil. The long-term toxicity of hexane in humans is extensive peripheral nervous system failure. The initial symptoms are tingling and cramps in the arms and legs, followed by general muscular weakness.” These findings support our recent research indicating that many harmful chemicals are very much present in the Gulf environment.
Residents also are reporting that local officials and doctors: “… have tried to silence [those who] raise the health issue, worried that if news got out, it could hurt the local economy even more. But a group of local pharmacists started keeping diaries of people coming in with similar symptoms.”
One of the article’s sources is Dr. Riki Ott, the Alaskan marine toxicology expert and a renowned oil pollution scientist. Among other things, she reports getting sick herself and hearing “similar” stories first-hand from people hailing from Terrebonne Parish Louisiana to Apalachicola Florida.
Dr. Ott: “What struck me when I first started hearing these stories was how similar the symptoms were to what happened after the Exxon Valdez oil spill.”
This story has legs…stay with it. Read the blog report here: http://blog.locustfork.net/2010/09/thousands-of-people-along-the-gulf-coast-suffer-bp-crud/
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