BP Oil Spill One Year Later (Part 2): And Those People Are Getting Sick:
Tomorrow is the actual anniversary of the explosion that sank the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig, killed eleven men, and ripped open a well that gushed oil into the Gulf of Mexico for three months. People who strove to clean up the mess caused by the voracious greed of three corporations (BP, Transocean, and Halliburton) have gotten sick. A good many of them. Enough that it's beginning to seem beyond anecdotal that working in waters or marshes filled with chemicals and oil might just have an effect on one's health.
We know from a recent study "that 30 percent of the oil that made its way to the surface was made up of 'light volatile organic carbon molecules' that evaporated within 10 hours." Heavier compounds took up to 20 hours to evaporate. We know that if you inhale a whole bunch of this, it's bad. And we know that "offshore clean-up workers were exposed to both the vapors and the aerosol compounds."
Andy LeBouef knows that he hasn't been well since he worked on a skiff for four months for BP after the spill. And before you think that this is some moneymaking scam, you should know that LeBouef doesn't want to sue BP. He just wants to know for sure if his illness was caused by all the evaporated oil and all the dispersants he inhaled. And then he just wants BP to pay for his medical expenses.
Hundreds of cases of illness seemingly related to the oil spill have been reported so far. There's probably many more. If you know the people who live down in that area of Louisiana, you know that a bunch of 'em are just sucking it up and taking it like a man or woman. But this isn't going away. Chemist Wilma Subra tested the blood of patients and found "levels of benzene among cleanup workers, divers, fishermen and crabbers are as high as 36 times that of the general population." In case you don't realize it, that's bad, too. She said, "As the event progresses we are seeing more and more people who are desperately ill."
It's not just workers. Louis Bayhi was told that it was safe to bring his family to live down in Grand Isle with him while he worked for BP, shuttling people around in his charter boat. They were told the beaches and the waters were safe for swimming. The whole family is constantly sick with flu-like symptoms now. "My little girls have more toxins in their blood than I have," Bayhi said. Those girls are 2 and 3 years old.
Like LeBouef, Bayhi and others who are sick in the small towns on the Gulf in Louisiana just want to know what's wrong. Many of them don't have health insurance. And if BP cared more about profit than safety or health, leading to the explosion, they just want to know that BP will take care of their medical bills.
There's so much horror and sadness caused by so many people in that paragraph up there that the Rude Pundit might start drinking early.