La. health department: 324 blame illness on spill


Louisiana’s Department of Health and Hospitals says 324 people have reported illnesses blamed on oil or dispersants from the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

That includes 241 people – or about three-quarters of the total – involved in spill cleanup or offshore work, and 83 people in the general public.

DHH says doctors cannot verify reported exposures. Common complaints include headache, dizziness, nausea, weakness or fatigue, and throat irritation.

The department summarizes reports of visits to doctors and emergency rooms, treatment by ambulance crews and calls to hot lines and poison control centers.

Those often come in weeks after a visit. So Monday’s figures cannot show whether the number dropped in the first full week since July 15, when a cap blocked the flow of oil.

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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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