Thursday, May 20, 2010
BP chemicals taking toll on cleanup crews
by Larry Geller
Update: Just heard on WBAI news that the FDA ordered BP to stop using the dispersant they have been using within 72 hours. It has been banned in the UK for ten years, the report said.
BP surfactants and other chemicals injected into the oil spill appear to be affecting the fishermen who are working to clean it up.
The fishermen are working out in the Gulf -- many of them all day, every day -- to clean up the spill. They said they blame their ailments on the chemicals that BP is using.
One fisherman said he felt like he was going to die over the weekend.
"I've been coughing up stuff," Gary Burris said. "Your lungs fill up."
Burris, a longtime fisherman who has worked across the Gulf Coast, said he woke up Sunday night feeling drugged and disoriented.
"It was like sniffing gasoline or something, and my ears are still popping," Burris said. "I'm coughing up stuff. I feel real weak, tingling feelings."
Marine toxicologist Riki Ott said the chemicals used by BP can wreak havoc on a person's body and even lead to death.
"The volatile, organic carbons, they act like a narcotic on the brain," Ott said. "At high concentrations, what we learned in Exxon Valdez from carcasses of harbor seals and sea otters, it actually fried the brain, (and there were) brain lesions." [WDSU, Fishermen Report Illness From BP Chemicals, 5/19/2010]
The article adds that some fisherman are afraid to speak out in fear of retaliation.
This is also a regulatory issue, since if the chemicals are harmful, they should not have been allowed to use them.