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Clean-up health problems

Have You Become Ill Because of the BP Oil Spill Cleanup?

More and more workers involved in the BP oil spill cleanup are reporting disturbing health symptoms. Some evidence also indicates that BP is attempting to conceal the true extent of this problem. In many instances, BP has denied workers the equipment, including respirators, which could protect their health. If you are involved in oil spill cleanup, and have suffered respiratory problems, skin rashes or other ailments, we urge to call us today.

Oil Spill Health Risks

According to a recent report on CNN, the state of Louisiana has reported 162 cases of illness relating to the BP oil spill. Of these, 128 involved workers on oil rigs, or those working on clean-up. At this writing, at least 21 workers have been hospitalized because of their complaints. Symptoms reported include dizziness, nausea and breathing issues. It is well known that workers exposed to oil spill toxins are at risk for long-term health problems. According to the National Resources Defense Council, various components of crude oil, such as benzene, toluene and polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons, present risks. All are known carcinogens. Other components of oil, like mercury and lead, are also toxic. According to a CNN report, workers involved in the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill cleanup are still reporting health problems. One examination of health records of 11,000 Exxon Valdez cleanup workers found that 6,722 of them had gotten sick. The government and the company called those illnesses the "Exxon crud", a flu or cold that Exxon was not required to report to federal health officials, CNN said. Unfortunately, neither Exxon nor the government has conducted any long-term studies on the health problems experienced by the workers. However, an environmental activist who did study the Exxon Valdez disaster told CNN that cleanup workers in the Gulf are showing "the exact identical symptoms down here that we had 21 years ago."

Is BP Trying to Hide the Truth?

There is some evidence that BP and the federal government are trying to downplay, and even hide, the true extent of oil spill-related illnesses. While Louisiana has reported 162 people sickened in that state, BP has only reported five cases in the entire Gulf Coast.
The human rights group, the RFK Center, has also reported that BP is discouraging workers from using respirators. Fisherman involved in the cleanup reportedly told Center officials that BP representatives said the equipment was “unnecessary and would only spread hysteria.”
In July, a journalist from the PBS Newshour reported that BP and federal officials would not allow the media access to a “federal mobile medical unit” in Venice, Louisiana:
“The glorified double-wide trailer sits on a spit of newly graveled land known to some as the “BP compound.” Ringed with barbed wire-topped chain link fencing, it’s tightly restricted by police and private security guards.”
According to the report, the PBS Newshour team tried for more than two weeks to arrange a visit to the unit to get a sense of how many people were being treated. In every case, they were either denied access or ignored.
In June, one fisherman working on the oil spill cleanup filed suit against BP after he was hospitalized for respiratory problems, headaches and nausea. The plaintiff sought to compel BP to give workers masks and not harass those who publicly voiced their health concerns. The complaint also requested that BP refrain from “altering, testing or destroying clothing or any other evidence or potential evidence” when workers become ill. In his affidavit, the plaintiff claimed BP confiscated his clothing after he became ill, and he was told it would not be returned.
According to CNN, the president of the Louisiana Shrimpers Association has also accused BP of threatening to fire fisherman – most of whom are unemployed because of the spill – from cleanup work if they complain about health problems. In some cases, workers have been threatened with firing if they wear masks, he said.
CNN also reported that fisherman it contacted did not want to speak publicly, with some expressing fears that they could lose their jobs with BP.

Legal Help for Workers Sickened by the BP Oil Spill

It is vital that the truth about the oil spill’s health consequences be made known. Sick oil spill workers should not have to suffer in silence. Our firm is doing everything possible to make sure the truth gets out.
If you believe that the BP oil spill has made you sick, it is vital that you contact us as soon as possible. Please fill out our online form, or call 1 800 LAW INFO (1-800-529-4636) today.