Monday, March 7, 2016

Gulf Spill

Gulf Health Impact

Thanks to the work carried out by the Government Accountability Project (GAP), the voices of the people impacted by the BP Deep Horizons Spill in the Gulf are available.  This page is a directory to the work GAP compiled, including the quotes below. 

All of us, those who could have been impacted, know someone, or care about people and the environment, should familiarize themselves with what is made available here. 

The poisons in oil enter the human body through multiple routes, but just inhaling is one of these. The use of dispersants such as Corexit is forbidden on or close to shore - but oil companies have used it anyway in the past so whether or not Corexit was used at Refugio remains an open question to be answered. 

We will let you know either way. 

Select Excerpts from Whistleblower Affidavits & Report Statements

As an environmental scientist, I look at the way the government and BP are handling, describing and discussing the spill ... [T]he government did not account for the increased toxicity of the combined oil and Corexit.
                                                       – Scott Porter, Diver, Marine Biologist

[W]hen a BP representative came up on the speedboat and asked if we need anything, I again explained my concerns about breathing in the Corexit and asked him for a respirator ... He explained 'If you wear a respirator, it is bringing attention to yourself because no one else is wearing respirators, and you can get fired for that.'
                                                      – Jorey Danos, Cleanup Worker

What brought all of these individuals into the same pool was the fact that their symptoms were almost identical, and were different from anything that I had ever observed in my 40 plus years as a physician ... However, until people are educated about the symptoms associated with exposure to toxic waste from the spill, we cannot assume they will make the connection. I continue to witness this disconnect and these symptoms on a daily basis.
                                                     – Dr. Michael Robichaux, Physician

When [the national director of The Children's Health Fund] went to Boothville Elementary in Plaquemines Parish and they opened the medical closet, it was full of nebulizers ... Where's the red flag? What is causing that many breathing problems with that number of kids? That is abnormal. At Boothville Elementary we have sick kids all over the place who are suffering from upper respiratory infections, severe asthma, skin infections, blisters in between their fingers and arms and on their legs and their feet. Some kids have blisters all around their mouths and their noses. These kids were perfectly fine before the spill and the spraying of Corexit began.
                                                     – Kindra Arnesen, Louisiana Resident

The MSDS [federally required chemical labeling and safety information] for Corexit list several of the health problems I am now having, and they still used ... it throughout the Gulf ... When I lived on the barge, for 24-hours a day I was exposed. I would be outside too, breathing in what they were burning, without a respirator or a Tyvek suit. I had an apron, a hairnet, a spatula and some rubber gloves, and they told me to go in the midst of this dangerous chemical environment. Yet they were willing to tell me that the dispersant mixed in with the oil I was cleaning was as safe as touching Dawn dishwashing soap? Then a year later I have health problems that I have never had before working on the barge...
                                                    – Jamie Griffin, Cook & Cleaner on Bunkhouse for Cleanup Workers

They hired people from all over who didn't know about the conditions and real safety hazards, but you did what you had to do; you had to take the job and deal with it because you didn't have money to go home ... There was a safety culture of, 'hush hush, it didn't happen.'
                                                    – Anonymous Cleanup Worker

EPA and BP knew of the health impacts associated with [Corexit and oil] ... The issue was responding to an oil spill of this magnitude, with unprecedented quantities of Corexit, including novel subsurface application. Gulf coastal communities, and individuals who consume gulf seafood or recreate in the gulf, are the guinea pigs left to deal with the consequences and will be feeling the full effect in years to come.
                                                   – Dr. Wilma Subra, Chemist, MacArthur Genius Award Recipient

As part of an impromptu meeting to provide feedback from the shrimping industry to EPA and NOAA, I met with EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson in Venice on June 1, 2010. By that point, already 800,000 to 900,000 gallons of Corexit 9527A had been sprayed. I was sitting across the table from Ms. Jackson and I asked her, 'Why is it that when you have all of this going on and three air monitors from Venice, Louisiana, EPA's reports are not showing any high levels of chemicals?' Ms. Jackson responded, 'Well the levels were a little high, but we didn't want to create a public panic.'
                                                   – Clint Guidry, President, Louisiana Shrimp Association

It's been really hard to get an accurate diagnosis or treatment, because none of the local doctors will even admit there is a problem ... There's one friend of mine who happens to be a doctor, and he's very well aware of what's going on but is afraid to take a hard stand on it.
                                                 – Shirley Tillman, Mississippi Resident, Cleanup Worker

Most of our members right now who are sick are in litigation ... They aren't going to sufficiently pay our medical bills to demonstrate that they were responsible for the actions they took, just as they didn't give us respirators to demonstrate that our working environment was unsafe.
                                                – A.C. Cooper, Vice President, Louisiana Shrimp Association

Every time I check, there is still oil on the beaches and in the estuary systems and in the wetlands and the marshes. People go to the beaches and swim in the gulf, and report to me that they still come up stained with a brownish tan color that they believe is oil.
                                              – Dr. Wilma Subra, Chemist, MacArthur Genius Award Recipient

If you fear retaliation for speaking out about workplace protections, contact the Government Accountability Project to discuss your rights - or 202.457.0034, ext. 132

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