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News from the Week of 16th to 22nd of May 2010
This week's links are still incomplete due to tax season and the resulting backlog of urgent tasks. The news links will be caught up later, possibly during July. - PR

At What Cost? BP Spill Responders Told to Forgo Precautionary Health Measures in Cleanup
Venice, Louisiana -- Local fishermen hired to work on BP's uncontrolled oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico are scared and confused. Fishermen here and in other small communities dotting the southern marshes and swamplands of Barataria Bay are getting sick from the working on the cleanup, yet BP is assuring them they don't need respirators or other special protection from the crude oil, strong hydrocarbon vapors, or chemical dispersants being sprayed in massive quantities on the oil slick.

Fishermen have never seen the results from the air-quality monitoring patches some of them wear on their rain gear when they are out booming and skimming the giant oil slick. However, more and more fishermen are suffering from bad headaches, burning eyes, persistent coughs, sore throats, stuffy sinuses, nausea, and dizziness. They are starting to suspect that BP is not telling them the truth.

And based on air monitoring conducted by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in a Louisiana coastal community, those workers seem to be correct. The EPA findings show that airborne levels of toxic chemicals like hydrogen sulfide, and volatile organic compounds like benzene, for instance, now far exceed safety standards for human exposure.

For two weeks, I've been in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama sharing stories from the Exxon Valdez oil spill, which devastated the community I lived and commercially fished in, with everyone from fishermen and women to local mayors to state governors and the crush of international media.

PAM COMMENTARY: The author of this article is Marine toxicologist Riki Ott, who has valuable experience and insights from the old Exxon-Valdez spill in Alaska.

The oil spill and your health
If it�s true that the oil gets into the loop current and eventually washes up on the beach, Subra says, she advices people to stay away, based on what�s happening in southern Louisiana.

The EPA says that air quality along the shore, so far, has been OK. Subra disagreed.

The dispersant may help keep the slick from oozing onto the shore, but the wave action is sending it into the air, she said.

�The slick is actually being turned into an aerosol by the high winds and waves. It came on shore well before the slick,� she said. �People were complaining of headaches, nausea, respiratory problems, burning eyes. These are symptoms you�d expect to see with volatile organic compounds.�

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Sources (if found on major news boards):
[AJ] - InfoWars.com, PrisonPlanet.com, or other Alex Jones-affiliated sites
[BF] - BuzzFlash.com
[DN] - DemocracyNow.org
[R] - Rense.com
[WRH] - WhatReallyHappened.com


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All original content including photographs © 2010 by Pam Rotella. (News excerpts copyright by their corresponding authors, news organizations, or other copyright holders, and quoted here typically as "fair use" or "teaser" paragraphs to generate interest in the full articles.)