When covering up a crime takes precedence over human health bp’s toxic gulf coast legacy salon.com h gas l gas brennwert

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As if BP’s disaster weren’t enough, according to the Gulf Restoration Network, an environmental NGO, 330,000 gallons of oil are spilled in Louisiana alone every year. There is a fire every three days on an offshore oil platform, three workers die annually and every year in the Gulf, 2,100 oil and chemical spills are reported to the Coast Guard.

Even this April, a massive spill of heavy fuel oil fouled the Mississippi River during the French Quarter Festival in New Orleans, which was ironically sponsored by Chevron, reminding people there how deeply the oil industry is embedded in their lives.

BP used two kinds of toxic chemical dispersants to sink the oil from the Deepwater Horizon disaster, Corexit 9500 and Corexit 9527, manufactured by Nalco Environmental Solutions. Approximately 770,000 gallons were injected at the wellhead while the oil gushed, while another million gallons were sprayed on the oil slick on the surface. Tens of thousands of cleanup workers, Coast Guard members, fishers and coastal residents were within range of the airborne chemicals, and many of them were sprayed directly with Corexit, which when mixed with crude, is 52 times more toxic than crude alone.

Other studies have also shown that dispersants are highly toxic to wildlife, including fish, crabs and even deep-sea coral. Other research has shown recently how dispersants hamper the growth of oil-eating bacteria, which of course, weakens nature’s ability to clean up after a spill.

There have been at least three major health studies in the last year alone showing that Corexit only made the oil more toxic. An ongoing National Institutes of Health study of 30,000 oil cleanup workers linked the dispersants to symptoms including coughing, wheezing, tightness in the chest and burning in the eyes, nose, throat and lungs. Meanwhile, a recently published Johns Hopkins study showed how the dispersants can turn oil into a toxic mist that can travel up to 50 miles, penetrating human bodies along the way. Thousands of Coast Guard personnel who responded to the disaster were shown by a study to have their acute respiratory problems linked to the dispersants. There have been numerous studies on the chemicals’ impacts on marine life, including one on how sperm whales have been harmed.

Here is a video of Presley, literally on her deathbed, telling the story of a fellow cleanup worker who got sepsis and died, as well as her and others’ failed attempts to find one single doctor to attribute their ailments to BP’s chemicals. Presley worked as long as she could until she could literally not make the walk to the beach.

She told Truthout she had spoken to "numerous people" who had visited the National Institutes of Health (the agency conducting the ongoing study on the sick oil cleanup workers) who "were told to go home or take their children home because they were going to die."

Nalco’s Corexit remains listed on the EPA’s list of acceptable chemical dispersants. Despite ample documentation of their dangerous impacts, the Obama administration did nothing to regulate the use of dispersants, and of course, neither has the current administration.

"If l could reach out to the people who live along the Gulf, and who vacation along the Gulf, I would tell them the water isn’t safe," Lana warned. "I would tell them to go easy on the seafood. I would tell them about my friends and what has happened to them. I would tell them the oil is still there."

Lana added that she would warn everyone of the possibility of being exposed to BP’s chemicals across much of her region and tell them not to go into the water. "I would tell them not to let their precious children dig too deep in the sand where the oil is still buried . . . people here just want their lives back," she concluded. "It’s not over. Big oil companies lie, and they have very deep pockets. They spin lies and twist the truth, then the mainstream media complies by sending it out to the world."

There are enough sick oil cleanup workers that an already massive and growing petition exists demanding they have their day in court for what happened to them. Meanwhile, tens if not hundreds of thousands of people across the four Gulf states in BP’s impact zone are sick and possibly dying, and there is no end in sight.