Thursday, July 22, 2010

Experts: Health Hazards in Gulf Warrant Evacuations

Thursday 22 July 2010
by: Rose Aguilar, t r u t h o u t | Report

When Louisiana residents ask marine toxicologist and community activist Riki Ott what she would do if she lived in the Gulf with children, she tells them she would leave immediately. "It's that bad. We need to start talking about who's going to pay for evacuations."

In 1989, Ott, who lives in Cordova, Alaska, experienced firsthand the devastating effects of the Exxon Valdex oil disaster. For the past two months, she's been traveling back and forth between Louisiana and Florida to gather information about what's really happening and share the lessons she learned about long-term illnesses and deaths of cleanup workers and residents. In late May, she began meeting people in the Gulf with symptoms like headaches, dizziness, sore throats, burning eyes, rashes and blisters that are do deep, they're leaving scars. People are asking, "What's happening to me?"

She says the culprit is almost two million gallons of Corexit, the dispersant BP is using to break up and hide the oil below the ocean's surface. "It's an industrial solvent. It's a degreaser. It's chewing up boat engines off-shore. It's chewing up dive gear on-shore. Of course it's chewing up people's skin. The doctors are saying the solvents are making the oil worse."

In a widely watched YouTube video, Chris Pincetich, a marine biologist and campaigner with the Sea Turtle Restoration Project, said Coast Guard planes are flying overhead at night spraying Corexit on the water and on land. "People need to realize that their water, their air, the sand they're walking on, the things they're touching when they wake up in the morning, are coated with this stuff," he said. "We are producing an experiment in the Gulf, the likes that no one has ever seen and top scientists admit that, so we're all part of the experiment."

Ott says people who are experiencing discomfort of any kind, especially children, pregnant women, cancer survivors, asthma sufferers and African-Americans because they're prone to sickle cell anemia, should wear a respirator and see a doctor that specializes in chemical poisoning immediately. She also recommends contacting the detox specialists at The Environmental Health Center in Dallas, Texas. "People don't have the information to know that the burning sore throat is actually chemical poisoning," she said. "And this isn't getting any attention, but it's very important. There are no vaccinations for chemical poisoning. None."

Read more at the link:
http://www.truth-out.org/toxic-dispersants-causing-widespread-illness61604

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