Whether or not the oil spill will cause health problems in Louisiana and other Gulf Coast areas seems to be answered as dozens of victims are in the hospital with health problems that seem to be caused by toxic chemicals in the air from the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. At least seventy people have been hospitalized and possibly many more, most workers and others that are giving aid or trying to clean up the oil spill, but some residents of the areas as well. It is not clear if the chemicals in the oil are causing these health problems or if it is from toxic chemicals released by the products being used to break up the spill.
Although the EPA has a website available to track the oil spill and the efforts of participating agencies to clean up the spill, and is reporting that they are analyzing the air quality of areas where the oil is being burned and using aircraft to collect air samples from affected areas, there are still people getting sick. One fisherman who chose to remain anonymous told the employees at West Jefferson Medical that they [the workers] thought the health problems that he and the other workers were experiencing were caused by the dispersant products.
He said that he personally felt weak and was suffering from high blood pressure. He also said that there were other workers present who had symptoms as well, including feeling nauseated and feeling aches. Doctors at the hospital ruled the symptoms consistent with exposure to some type of irritant, but they weren’t clear as to whether or not the symptoms that the patients were experiencing were a direct result of the oil spill, saying that it was difficult to tell. One doctor said that working in a hot and muggy environment can cause symptoms, but petroleum fumes surrounding you was not pleasant.
Some experts say that the oil spill has many different facets that are a risk for health and are dangerous. Both the National Institute for Occupational Health and Safety, which is part of the Center for Disease Control, and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration report that workers providing relief and cleaning up the spill have already been exposed to toxins in the air that are at dangerous levels. Both airborne exposure and direct contact can be dangerous, and the symptoms can include nausea, irritation in the eyes and throat, headaches and dizziness.
Some experts, particularly at the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies, say that the long term effects on workers health from the Gulf Coast oil spill are unclear and extremely worrying. Both workers and residents have reported symptoms such as headaches and breathing problems. If you are one of those workers, or are a resident of the affected area, you may be able to collect compensation for the health problems that you are now facing, or other personal injury damages. Contact attorney Emery Ledger for a consultation if you have experienced any symptoms listed here.