Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Toxic Legacy

For anyone thinking that the Gulf of Mexico oil spill is all over, our next report just might make you think again. Down on the Louisiana coast, one very determined woman - a granny who also happens to be a leading environmental scientist - has been collecting a hefty list of locals whose health has been damaged by the spill. Needless to say, BP is not impressed but that doesn't bother her one little bit! Here she is with Sophie McNeill. 


REPORTER:  Sophie McNeill


It seems life is returning to normal on the Gulf Coast. But appearances can be deceptive.


WILMA SUBRA, ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENTIST: It looks like it has a little bit of oil in the sand that it’s washing in. Until all the slick and all the dispersed oil is out of the Gulf I wouldn’t consider swimming here.


Environmental scientist Wilma Subra is a Louisiana local with a long track record of fighting the big polluters. Apart from the oil, she’s concerned about what else might be in the water. She believes BP’s attempts to break up the oil may have created long-term problems.


WILMA SUBRA: The dispersant is a very toxic substance that causes a lot of health impacts - short term and long term. Portions of them are known cancer-causing agents, the other portion causes the headache, the nausea, the respiratory problems and when it is mixed with the oil, it is much more toxic than either the oil or the dispersant. And you can inhale it, you can ingest it, you can have skin contact out here. So, it is an issue that is really important for people’s health. They need to be protected from any exposure.


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