BP Oil Spill and the Cost to Human Health

Earlier this week, Louisiana Congressman Charlie Melancon sent a letter to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Kathleen Sebelius, requesting temporary health care clinics to serve volunteers and workers in Louisiana.

The clinics would be used to provide medical exams to workers who have come into contact with oil and monitor affects of the oil disaster in the gulf. He also sought the appointment of a health care coordinator to oversee the health care response. The letter read, in part:

“Many residents and volunteers are being exposed to hazardous materials on a daily basis, and some will have to travel hours to get treatment at the nearest health care facility. It is imperative that temporary health care clinics be established to provide basic health care services in this geographic area.”

Congressman Melancon also stated that BP should be responsible for all costs related to the recovery, including any additional health care services needed in southern Louisiana, writing that “It is the companies’ responsibility and theirs alone in light of their negligence in this situation.”

HealthDay News reported earlier this month that some people along the cost have already reported headaches, nausea and throat irritation.

Health risks to humans would be the result of pollution and contamination of the food chain. Those involved directly in the clean up of crude oil may face additional health hazards. The Exxon Valdez oil spill in 1989 resulted in 11,000 clean-up workers making 5,600 visits to health clinics for upper respiratory symptoms alone.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that crude oil

“…may contain various portions of straight and branched chain paraffins, cycloparaffins, and naphthenic, aromatic, and polyaromatic hydrocarbons. In addition, crude oil contains trace amounts of sulfur containing chemicals such as sulfides, mercaptans, thiophenes, and other more complex sulfur compounds. Although the chemical composition of crude oil varies by source, crude oils and petroleum products share certain toxic characteristics.”

In addition to prolonged exposure to crude oil, workers and volunteers may also be faced with the dangers associated with the clean-up itself — heat, working in water and in swamps, wildlife, and heavy machinery.

The crisis is far from over. With crude oil still pouring into the Gulf, it is far too early to comprehend the long-term cost to human health. But one thing is clear — BP is the culprit and BP should cover the costs of clean-up, including health care costs.

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Photo: U.S. Coast Guard


Karen C.
Karen C7 years ago

BP has been stating that their going to pay for the cost and that should included everything from wildlife to healthcare. They have no idea how long they are going to be paying. Drilling deep without a plan for a spill was stupid and now they have to pay.

Dave Tohunga
Dave te tohunga7 years ago

BP must pay for it's negligence!
Yet like the Banksters it will be bailed out by taxpayers.
Remember the 911 volunteers who are still dying with no help?
And 911 was an inside job, the evidence is overwhelming,
yet 911 victims are abandoned and so will those who help with this. THIS IS THE WAY GOVTS AND CORPORATIONS OPERATE! You know this, you have seen this for years, yet still no one holds these criminals accountable, and they are criminals, even tho they hold high paying jobs in positions of 'responsibility' HAH! Responsibility, what a joke. Multi million dollar paychecks and zero accountability. But i suppose if citizens are stupid enough to allow it they deserve all they get!
Is that not karmic retribution?

S. L.
sheila l7 years ago

Obama should have been in there on Day 1 along side BP, strictly monitoring the oil giant's every move and brainstorming with our own scientists and professionals. I am totally disgusted with the Obama admin. He is no better than Bush in handling natural disasters.

pj dickenson
pj dickenson7 years ago

Request temporary health clinics? NO!!! DEMAND IT!!!

Tammy Smith
T Zabel7 years ago

BP should be held responsible for anything and everything it takes to clean this disaster up

Janne A.
Janne A.7 years ago

Our way of thinking will no longer sustain us. We can either remain in the house of cards we have built and watch it collapse all around us, or we can, through the best our society
has to offer, begin to construct a stable mature and thriving society so that the Gulf Coast Oil Spill, the Exxon Valdez and many others are nothing more then an embarrassing footnote in history.

The choice is yours.

And, please check the time when the comment was left and read the first one first :)

Janne A.
Janne A.7 years ago

We need all of you, every last one, to say enough is enough in one voice. Not as Americans or Russians, Christians or Muslims, but as fathers, mothers, brothers and sisters. Let
us destroy the lines between us and work to create a world where our children are truly safe and free. Let us create a world where we can tell
our children that they can be and do whatever their heart desires, and know deep inside us we are telling them the truth. Let our generation be the one.
We have the tools, we have the knowledge, we have the technology. It is time we make the transition to a world, an economy, and a future we all deserve regardless of geographic location or economic disposition. As long as we rely on legacy systems defined in a 19th century mentality all we will do is spin our wheels while a parade of economic and ecologic
disasters visits us again and again. It is time to pull the plug on this charade because as you will find out, there is a better way.
We, the Zeitgeist Movement representatives, reach out to you so that we can all work together to do what must be done. Every man, woman and child has a voice, but together we can create one voice so deafening that no one will have a choice but to listen. But it requires you. It requires you put away
preconceived notions you have been told about “the way things are” as if it is the only way, because it's not! Our way of thinking will no longer sustain us. We can either remain in the house of cards we have built an

Janne A.
Janne A.7 years ago

As of today, there has been no progress in stopping this catastrophe. This did not have to happen. It happened because we continue to use an obsolete technology for the sake of
maintaining a profitable establishment. An establishment that perpetuates vast inequality in its wages to its employees versus its core owners, destroys fragile and vital eco-systems, and pollutes our air.
It is time for real change, not empty promises. No amount of socialism or free market ideology will save us from ourselves, there needs to be a fundamental re-write of what we think we know, to achieve a sustainable human enterprise.

Our generation has stood and watched as our planet has been raped and pillaged, yet we do nothing. Our generation has stood and watched as our government bailed out the very people who created this economic crisis, yet we do nothing. Our generation has stood and watched as our rights have been
stripped away from us, and yet we do nothing. Our generation has stood and watched as we have been handed the problems of the countless generations before it, and we are preparing to do the same to the next generation, and we do nothing.

Let us be the first generation to hand solutions to our children and our children’s children. But we can’t do it alone. Let us break down the barriers we have created amongst ourselves. We need all of you, every last one, to say enough is enough in one voice. Not as Americans or Russians, Christians or Muslims, but as fathers, mo

Janne A.
Janne A.7 years ago

(Venus, Florida- May 12rd, 2010) On the Gulf Coast of the United States the
shock is now setting in for millions of American citizens as we now realize
the true extent of the damage caused by our desire for obsolete and
dangerous fossil fuels, and our perpetuation of an outdated monetary world
society, where the bottom line has always been profit at all costs, be it
human or environmental. It is time for a viable solution to deal with a
system hardwired for self destruction.

It is with that very unfortunate introduction that we, The Zeitgeist
Movement, now must enter the international conversation to express the need
for true change. That word is not some jingoist slogan devised by a focus
group, but the evident desire of the public for a meaningful transition out
of the destructive legacy, the burden of our past mistakes as a maturing
civilization. We only have one Earth; there is no reset button here.

We must break out of our established ideologies that have prevented
progress. Ending the political duality, economic stratification and false
divisions is key to overcoming our apparent historical bondage that says
the future we were promised must remain an elusive dream. We must now
rethink our society and outgrow those parts of it that serve to paralyze

As of Friday, April 30th it was reported by CBS News (US) that the spill
had spread to cover 2,100 square miles and was still spilling at a rate up
to 5,000 barrels (210,000 gallons) a day. As

Gloria H.
Gloria H7 years ago

Please remind the world and our country that all of the oil companies do the same all over the world. There are however, a few who are not willing to risk our environment as BP has chosen to show its true colors. They are only interested in their bottom line/money! Now,they have destroyed a part of our world that will have devastating effects for years to come.I not about to blame anyone, but the last party to occupy, Bush. The people need to keep up with what goes on in each administration.What do they want the president to do? He doesn't own any BP stock. Why don't they give the names of the real culprits. We need cooperation from all Republicans and Democrats.