Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Health effects of the Gulf oil spill

The Deepwater Horizon Incident in the Gulf of Mexico is becoming a huge public health problem. The oil is contaminating the environment and the entire ecosystem in the Gulf. What types of health effects will we see this summer? Given that so many experts are concerned about hurricane season, it's alarming to consider how a hurricane could spread all this oil and cause significant havoc on land.

Workers at sea who are trying to clean all the oil are suffering from physician ailments that may be related to exposure to the cleaning chemicals. They're suffering from headaches and respiratory problems. At what point will seafood contamination reach a point that we can't control? At what point will the water become so hazardous that it endangers people spending their vacation at the beach? It doesn't take much for us to realize that our world really is small and everything on this planet is connected.

Right now, many people are debating the health effects of the current oil spill. Given the large size of the spill, we really have no way of predicting what type of health effects we will see over the coming months. I'm sure we'll see several articles published in major medical journals about the health effects of this oil spill. I also predict that there will be long-term health consequences that we won't recognize for several years (or possibly even decades). Modern public health surveillance technologies will allow us to follow people for  many years and see what types of health effects this oil spill may have on their bodies. 

1 comment:

  1. The crude oil is toxic!! Workers cleaning the oily Gulf beaches need to know the danger. Don't become BP's Collateral Damaged, like Exxon’s Collateral Damaged.

    My name is Merle Savage, a female general foreman during the Exxon Valdez oil spill (EVOS) beach cleanup in 1989. I am one of the 11,000+ cleanup workers from the Exxon Valdez oil spill (EVOS), who is suffering from health issues from that toxic cleanup, without compensation from Exxon.

    Dr. Riki Ott visited me in 2007 to explain about the toxic spraying on the beaches. She also informed me that Exxon's medical records and the reports that surfaced in litigation by sick workers in 1994, had been sealed from the public, making it impossible to hold Exxon responsible for their actions.

    Exxon developed the toxic spraying; OSHA, the Coast Guard, and the state of Alaska authorized the procedure. Beach crews breathed in crude oil that splashed off the rocks and into the air -- the toxic exposure turned into chronic breathing conditions and central nervous system problems, neurological impairment, chronic respiratory disease, leukemia, lymphoma, brain tumors, liver damage, and blood disease.

    My web site is devoted to searching for EVOS cleanup workers who were exposed to the toxic spraying, and are suffering from the same illnesses that I have. There is an on going Longshoreman’s claim for workers with medical problems from the oil cleanup. Our summer employment turned into a death sentence for many -- and a life of unending medical conditions for the rest of Exxon’s Collateral Damaged.