The Louisiana Department of Health is reporting at least seventy-one people have suffered health problems believed to be caused by the BP oil spill and the widespread use chemical dispersants. The sick include twenty-nine oil spill cleanup workers and twenty-one workers on oil rigs in the Gulf. Symptoms reported by workers have included throat irritation, cough, chest pain, headaches and shortness of breath. Another fifteen illnesses have been reported in Alabama. On Capitol Hill, Democratic Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney of New York has compared the plight of the Gulf cleanup workers to the men and women who worked at Ground Zero after the Sept. 11 attacks.
Rep. Carolyn Maloney: “The health of far too many of those who worked on that toxic pile, they suffered long-term health consequences. Now in the Gulf, men and women are once again being exposed to a toxic sea of elements. After just forty-some days, there are already reports that workers have suffered from exposure to the oil. And this cleanup will go on for years. The time to address the issue of the health of the cleanup workers is now, before they lose it.”