deepwater horizon: how the oil disaster extended its toxic reach - oil containment boom
Scott Potter remembered that he felt very good for the last time.
It was a warm, sunny day, with the Sky sparkling on June 2010. A deep-
Marine diver and marine biologist, he takes a 30-foot catamaran with a television news crew to one of his favorite attractions in the Gulf of Mexico, coral reefs growing on 311 abandoned oil platforms in the main pass.
It is about 40 miles north of the Deepwater Horizon rig, which exploded six weeks ago.
The rig's heavily damaged wellhead, one mile below the surface, is still spewing thousands of barrels of oil every day, and continued reports of the accident continue to make headlines.
Federal officials assured Porter that the water around the reef was safe, but the air was filled with the pungent smell of crude oil.
As he plunged into the dark ocean, he found himself in a 40-foot deep ocean.
Thick mucus feathers of oil and chemical dispersion.
"At noon, it's usually light enough to read a book even under 60 feet," Porter said . ".
"But the oil is blocking too much sun and I can't read my meter.
Potter recalled the incident when he was picking a large plate of boiled shrimp and crayfish, a specialty of the popular Cajun-Big Al's
Located about 60 miles southwest of New Orleans, the Houma style restaurant is in the heart of the oil town of Louis Anna.
Porter, who advises oil companies and environmental groups, lives near the bustling metropolis of 30,000 people.
This is the starting point for fishermen to travel to the Bay and the starting point for oil workers who live in a chain hotel along the town's main resistance congestion and then go to the rig to play twice --to three-week stints.
Potter spent a lot of time underwater-more than 6,000 dives over 20 times
He estimated that it was a year of his career, but that dive was different.
"I feel like I'm soaking in a big bucket of industrial solvents," 49-year-
Fellow villagers in Twin Cities, Texas.
When he got home that night, he had a rash.
He felt that his lungs seemed to have been scorched by fire, with a strong burning sensation in his chest, and he knew from experience that it was chemical pneumonia caused by the inhalation of harsh solvents.
But he's been diving.
After each dive, he suffers from more diseases-a cold in his chest, a fever in his throat, a migraine, a bone --
Lethargy and nausea.
Many other Gulf residents have suffered the same strange symptoms, even more.
Including migraine, rash, bloody diarrhea, pneumonia attacks, nausea, seizures, muscle cramps, severe depression and anxiety, severe mental blur and even power outages.
The worst oil spill in maritime history killed four people.
2 million barrels of oil were officially announced.
Before the well is sealed, 8 million gallons of Corexit (a chemical cleaner used to break down oil) enter the bay.
Six years later, the debate about the wisdom of the carpet is still fierce.
Bombing the Gulf with these chemicals, the newly released document shows that government scientists were concerned at the health consequences of mixing such a large amount of dispersing agents with millions of barrels of sweet crude oil.
Occupational health experts now believe that it makes a toxic mixture that makes thousands of locals sick-including some of the 47,000 people working in the BP cleaning department --
Upward surgery-paralyzing them with chemical-induced diseases that doctors cannot treat.
"There is a core patient who is very sick, and because of the chemicals involved in the exposure to the Deep Water Horizon tragedy, they will undoubtedly get sick for the rest of their lives," said Dr.
Michael Robichaux is an ENT specialist in South Louis Anna, a former state senator.
In the initial stages following the leak, Robichaux treated dozens of people, including Porter.
They're from three-year-
The old boy had a seizure while swimming in the pool next to the oil
A clean beach
The Up worker, when his visual nerves were inexplicably scarred after being exposed to chemicals near the oil boom, was blind.
A family friend, a fisherman's wife, who works in a clean place
Got leukemia on the boat-
Like the blood disease caused by cleaning her husband's oil.
"Many women no longer come to menstruation, or their menstrual cycle is not normal," Robichaux recalls . ".
"I see a lot of people-even children-with seizures, dizziness and a variety of other neurological problems.
Potter held everyone he could think of-medical experts, federal officials, local politicians and even his sister --in-
Law, a family doctor in Memphis, Tennessee, wanted to know exactly what he was exposed to but never got a satisfactory answer.
"I know the dangerous nature of these compounds, but they keep telling us that it is completely safe," the marine scientist said . ".
He then started the connection himself, especially when his diving partner began to develop more terrible symptoms, such as uncontrollable ear and nose bleeding and bloody stools.
"It raised the alarm," Potter recalls, drawing a bleak conclusion that he was only sick because he was in the water.
He later found that, according to the documents obtained by the Government Accountability program, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration did not allow divers to enter contaminated waters.
Since then, he has been suffering from chest pain and dizziness for several years, and during the conversation, he sometimes has a memory loss, this made him feel like his brain was stuck in the first gear.
He admitted: "I forgot everything when I saw it. my girlfriend said I was getting worse and worse.
"Many diseases that plague workers and residents in the Bay Area reflect previous post-leakage situations such as the Exxon Valdez spill, which many workers claim suffered from brain damage due to exposure to neurotoxins in oil.
Other people suffer from infertility, endocrine disorder, heart damage, chronic respiratory diseases, premature aging, cognitive decline, long-term
The term depression and nerve damage, according to a large number of studies.
"Exposure to organic solvents can have the same intellectual impact as lead poisoning," said DrMichael Harbut, a professor at Michigan State University and an environmental and occupational health specialist who served as the plaintiff's medical advisor
Filed a lawsuit against BP.
In the most exposed population, he warned, "we will see chronic adverse health effects, including liver and kidney diseases, birth defects and developmental disorders.
Over time, we will see certain cancers related to industrial solvents such as leukemia, lymphoma, lung cancer and skin cancer ".
Combining with oil releases harmful substances contained in crude oil, such as heavy metals, benzene, hexane and toluene, which are known carcinogens and can also cause brain damage.
A dispersing agent like Corexit is a mixture of solvent and a surface active agent, they split the oil into tiny droplets, making it easier for them to be absorbed by the ground and eaten by microorganisms.
But it also makes the toxic part of the oil small enough to penetrate into the skin and spread throughout the body.
To make matters worse, when the seawater evaporates, the chemicals are polluted by air and brought to high places by strong winds on the bay, making people who breathe in the polluted air feel sick.
"We get calls every day.
The smoke on the coast suffocates people and people are trapped, "recalls Mary Orr, a longtime environmental activist in Baton Rouge and executive director of the Environmental Action Network in the state of Luis Anna.
"They can't just walk away from home or from work.
"Even in May 2010, in the first few weeks of cleaning work --
According to the latest documents, government scientists have been worried about the toxic beer.
By October 2010, so many locals were sick and brought a lawsuit that District Court judges gathered them in a class --
Litigation in order to avoid blocking the court with piecemeal litigation.
In 2012, BP agreed on a complex Category --action $7. 8bn (£6. 4bn)
The medical settlement will compensate the victims up to $60,700 per person and allow them to file further claims if they have more serious problems.
According to the latest data from the claims administrator, more than 37,500 victims have filed a claim, but only a small portion of the claim has been paid.
There are also countless people who choose to withdraw from the settlement and seek personal litigation, and it may take many years for them to see any money.
"These health issues are going on and will get worse in some cases," said Shanna Devine, an investigator for the Government Accountability program . ".
"According to dozens of people I spoke to their neighbors, cancer rates have risen dramatically since the oil spill.
This legal struggle is terrible-people are not able to mortgage and the economic impact is very serious.
Environmental Protection Department (EPA)
BP insists that Corexit itself is as safe as liquid;
Ingredients in the dispersing agent were also found in household cleaners, hand sanitizers and cosmetics.
But the safety manual released by Nalco, the manufacturer of Corexit, lists some of the health effects of these chemicals: Chemical pneumonia, eye irritation, dermatitis, nausea, and internal bleeding.
A Corexit even contains butoxyethanol, which is associated with a range of hazards, including respiratory diseases, headaches, infertility in women and miscarriage.
The Environmental Protection Agency recently held a public hearing asking questions about the wisdom of using a dispersing agent to control a leak.
Proposed EPA rule changes will create more stringent provisions for toxicity testing, stricter environmental monitoring, regular review of how anti-spills are used in the overflow process, and prohibition of the use of anti-spills in fresh water
But it will not take effect until 2018.
At the same time, public health experts continue their efforts to deal with the health consequences of the disaster.
The National Institute of Environmental Health Science is at 10-
The annual study tracked 33,000 people who were exposed to oil.
Researchers recruited participants from every place in the Bay, from fishermen to cleaners
Lift the workers to the hands of the people who work on the rig, they suck out the oil and operate the ships and aircraft that spray the dispersing agent into the water.
They have found higher rates of respiratory problems, skin condition and depression.
But it may take a few years for them to confirm what other problems this disaster has brought.
Until then, officials are not sure what different things they should do.
The next oil spill may just be an opportunity to make the same mistake.