It’s challenging to shine a positive light on the Gulf of Mexico oil spill that continues to taint the ocean, creating a “7,000+ square mile wildlife dead zone” that scientists fear is in the process of devastating marine life and compromising delicate deep-sea coral reefs.
Triggered by a blown-out undersea well, an estimated 210,000 gallons of oil has been pouring into the ocean for the past 28 days and while BP has managed to contain some of the flow via the installation of a 4 inch diameter tube, things are looking pretty grim for the environment.
Ditto for all the workers hired to remedy BP’s royal mess. There are quite a few health issues that fishermen on the scene are contending with despite BP insisting that there is no threat to their personal well being.
The Environmental Protection Agency says that airborne levels of benzene and hydrogen sulfide (presumably from the application of massive amounts of chemical dispersants) have far exceeded what is deemed safe for humans, resulting in regular reports of chronic coughing, burning eyes, nausea, splitting headaches, sore throats and other health complaints.
Is this a case of history repeating itself? A quick look back at what occurred during 1989’s Exxon Valdez spill and recent smaller clean up incidents reveals some interesting and troubling similarities:
- 6,722 cases of upper respiratory infections were documented following the Exxon spill (which were more likely illnesses triggered by chronic chemical exposure).
- Many of the workers who are still fortunate enough to be alive today following the Exxon incident and other oil spills suffer from debilitating illnesses that render them disabled, including genetic, respiratory and central nervous system damage.
- Neither the safety agency OSHA nor workers themselves were ever given access to Exxon’s findings on an air-quality monitoring program which did in fact confirm that they were overexposed to toxic vapors and chemicals while engaging in cleanup efforts.
- Exxon cleverly indemnified themselves from any potential health lawsuits that might result by paying their workers $600.50 each to sign a partial release form.
- Workers cleaning up Spain’s Prestige oil spill in 2002 experienced the exact same ailments as those who tended to South Korea’s Hebei Spirit oil spill in 2007, Exxon’s spill and now the ongoing BP situation.
Who is looking out for the people putting themselves directly within harm’s way — the same individuals who are making amends on behalf of BP?
Massive oil companies have demonstrated throughout the decades — whether during oil spills or exploratory missions in search of new product that will ensure their continued wealth – that they seem to be in it for themselves, no matter what casualties they leave in their wake, animal, human or environmental.
Is this enough evidence that our addiction needs to be broken cold turkey?
Via Huffington Post