Thursday, March 10, 2011

Gulf Spill Dispersants Sickening Residents?

If there is anything that modern history has proven, it is the limits of human understanding. Every human solution seems to create new and interesting problems. The Gulf Oil Spill is no exception. While direct environmental damage appears to have been much lighter than the Exxon Valdeez spill, evidence is mounting that the chemicals used to prevent oil slicks - called "dispersants" - are ravaging the bodies of some residents.

Many of the chemicals present in the oil and dispersants are known to cause headaches, nausea, vomiting, kidney damage, altered renal function, and irritation of the digestive tract. They have also caused lung damage, burning pain in the nose and throat, coughing, pulmonary edema, cancer, lack of muscle coordination, dizziness, confusion, irritation of the skin, eyes, nose, and throat, difficulty breathing, delayed reaction time and memory difficulties.

Further health problems include stomach discomfort, liver and kidney damage, unconsciousness, tiredness/lethargy, irritation of the upper respiratory tract, hematological disorders, and death. Pathways of exposure to the chemicals are inhalation, ingestion, skin, and eye contact...

Since the onset of his symptoms, Doom has been dealing with ongoing internal bleeding, nose bleeds, bleeding from his ears, blood in his stool, headaches, severe diarrhea, two to five seizures per day, paralysis in his left leg and arm, and failing vision.

"A toxicologist that interpreted my blood VOC results told me they didn't know how I was alive," Doom explained. "My Hexane was off the charts, and I have 2 and 3 Methylpentane, Iso-octane, Ethylbenze, and mp-Xylene."
While I have great sympathy for those affected by this disaster, I will admit that I am shocked by the high number of people in this article who chose to go swimming in the Gulf during the disaster. Did they expect that there would be no consequences for swimming in seawater tainted by oil and chemical dispersants?

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