Liquidators of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico hits a mysterious disease

Epidemics

17.04.11.Dzheymi Simon worked on a barge in the oily waters for six months after the spill caused by BP last year, preparing food for the workers to clean up, cleaning their clothes and removing them.

A year later, the 32-year-old woman said that she still suffers from a number of debilitating health problems, including tachycardia, vomiting, dizziness, ear infections, throat tumors, poor vision and memory loss.

She blames toxic elements in the crude oil and the dispersants sprayed after the fault of BP in the Gulf of Mexico April 20, 2010 oil spill.

"I asked about these chemicals, and they told me that they are also safe as dishwashing liquid, and I do not worry about anything."

The local doctor, Mike Robichaux said that over the past week has seen about 60 patients like Simon. Their small southern town with a population of 10 thousand people, bordering marsh lands and fields of sugar cane faced with a mysterious illness, the blame for which, according to many, is BP.

Andy LaBeouf (51) says that he was paid $ 1,500 a day to go out on his boat and collect the oil that poured out of the bottom of the ocean after the accident on the rig.

But after four months of such work, he fell ill and could no longer work. He said that he recently had to refinance your mortgage, because it can not pay taxes.

"I support a long time. Ever since I got sick, I never felt better, "says LaBeouf, complaining of memory problems and a sore throat that does not let him for a year.

Robichaux, as a specialist, an otolaryngologist, says that treats many of his patients at home.

"Their work ethic is so strong that they do not want people to know that they are sick, and stoically endure their troubles," he said.

"Ninety percent of them got worse, and no one knows why this is."

According to the register compiled by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, as of August 2010, a total of working on the oil spill was attracted 52,000 workers.

Louisiana reported 415 cases of health problems associated with spills, where some of the reported symptoms of sore throat, eye irritation, respiratory tract, headache and nausea.

However, an environmental toxicologist and professor at the University of Pittsburgh Bernard Goldstein says that methods of collecting government data on the health of workers is not without flaws.

For example, a major study of the workers Liquidators National Institute of Environmental Health was funded until six months after the spill.

"Six months, it is too late," he said.

Benzene, a known carcinogen present in crude oil, disappears from a person's blood within four months, Goldstein said.

Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, or PAHs, are pollutants that can cause genetic mutations and cancer. They are of particular interest in the study of long-term health, but in the absence of a basis for comparison hard to figure out where they come from — because of the oil spill, or from somewhere else.

"They remain in the body longer, but they can also be confused with PAHs from other sources", such as meat barbecue or cigarette smoke, said Goldstein.

Some of the same symptoms such as eye irritation, breathing problems, nausea and psychological stress are among emergency oil spill from the tanker Prestige off the Spanish coast in 2002, and Exxon Valdez spill in 1989 off the coast of Alaska.

Local chemist Wilma SUBR helped take blood samples from people in the presence of volatile solvents, and said levels of benzene among workers Liquidators, divers, fishermen and crabbers is 36 times higher than in the general population.

"Over time, we see that more people are terminally ill," she says.

"The impact goes, this is clear," said SUBR, noting that the penetration of the poison in people include skin contact, by contaminated food or inhalation of contaminated air.

In response to a request for comment from BP sent an e-mail that "the protection of workers liquidators and pollution is their top priority," and that they had "additional supervision of those employees" in cooperation with a number of government agencies.

"Reports of illnesses and health warnings during the operation to eliminate carefully collected and documented, and the medical evidence shows that they are not very different from what one would expect from the working personnel in such numbers under normal conditions."

For Simon, her way of life has changed completely. She says that just as something to live, she has to take daily painkillers.

A couple of weeks ago, she read in the local newspaper that other employees servicing accident also sick, and her grandmother persuaded her to go to the doctor.

"I never thought about the connection. I just realized that this may be related, "she says.

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