CNN: Gulf residents say chemicals & oil “are making them violently ill”; “Almost all” Exxon Valdez cleanup workers “are now dead” (VIDEO)
June 25th, 2010
BP’s Next Step?; Oil Spill Outrage, Rush Transcript for Campbell Brown:
BROWN: Tonight, growing outrage over the millions of gallons of chemical dispersants BP is dumping into the gulf. Some local residents insist the chemicals along with the oil are making them violently ill. They say they’re nauseated. They’ve got headaches and breathing problems.
Kerry Kennedy from the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights has been touring the coast and talking to folks who complain that they are being exposed to a lot of unknown toxins right now. I spoke with her earlier today.
BROWN: Kerry, people who have come in contact with the oil and the dispersants are complaining of nausea, headaches, burning eyes. Talk to me a little bit about your experience when you were touring these gulf communities.
KERRY KENNEDY, RFK CTR. FOR JUSTICE AND HUMAN RIGHTS: Well, that’s exactly what we felt. I went out on a boat yesterday into the gulf and all of us were wearing respirators and we had burning eyes and sore throats and a sense of nausea. As far as you could see, all around us the ocean looked like we were at a gas stock — the slick of oil everywhere with that kind of rainbow color.
BROWN: I know you talked to a lot of people working in this stuff, too. Were they being encouraged to wear rubber gloves, to wear respirators like you did and other kinds of protective gear that might help them?
KENNEDY: No. Quite the opposite. We talked to workers who had been told by BP that they didn’t need respirators. Apparently, they’re concerned about poor media images of people wearing respirators and rubber gloves and starting, quote, “hysteria.”
BROWN: We’re not just talking about oil as I said before. We’re talking about these dispersants they’re using as well. And we don’t even really know what’s in these dispersants. BP is keeping a lot of information proprietary. What have you heard from health care workers about that in particular and how do they go about treating people? Because there have been a lot of complaints of illnesses. People getting — or feeling really sick who have been working out there. …
KENNEDY: Well, this is an enormous problem because people are getting sick… they’re the same types of illnesses that people reported in Alaska.
Now, the average lifespan of a person who did cleanup on the Exxon Valdez is 51 years old. Almost all those people who did work on the Exxon Valdez are now dead. And BP still here, once again, is big oil not giving the information to the doctors and health care officials. County nurse was not given permission to go on to the BP property. When she finally did that, the people who work at BP who were coming to see her were only allowed to get band aids and aspirin from her. And they were told that they only could go to the BP doctors if they wanted to get treated. …
[T]here’s a whole other set of issues that we are seeing a spike in and that’s mental health problems. We were told in all three states again and again and again that people are facing depression and, of course, that leads to, as you know, to domestic violence, to divorce, to a spike in crime and to suicide. And we’ve already heard many reports of concerns about those types of implications.