MORE Gulf residents blood tests show ethylbenzene, xylene and high levels of hexane — “Told they need a hi-res scan of their lungs, brain, liver and kidneys”
September 8th, 2010
The Untold Story of Human Health Effects From BP’s Oil Disaster, Glynn Wilson, September 7th, 2010:
Robin Young [is] a 47-year-old director of guest services for a property management company in Orange Beach, Alabama…
Just a few days after BP’s oil made landfall along the Alabama Gulf Coast in June, Ms. Young’s symptoms started with “a fiery, burning sore throat,” she said. Then came the horrible, constant cough, followed by an achy feeling much like a severe flu virus — and a lethargy that kept her in bed for two weeks solid. Her memory started playing tricks on her, and her motor skills and even hand-to-eye coordination went south. …
Her new friends [she met while communicating with others who were sickened]… soon started a nonprofit group called Guardians of the Gulf [and] tried to find a local doctor to help them. After having no luck, they eventually found an out of state toxicologist and a doctor who knew enough about a new area of occupational and environmental health to order blood tests.
They found Dr. Michael R. Harbut, a clinical professor of Internal Medicine and director of the Environmental Cancer Program at Wayne State University’s Karmanos Cancer Institute, board certified in Occupational and Environmental Medicine. And they found Metametrix, a lab to test their blood.
What they found in the blood tests was a stew of toxic chemicals directly associated with oil and gas production and the chemical dispersant Corexit, including ethylbenzene, xylene and high levels of hexane, a hydrocarbon chiefly obtained by the refining of crude oil.
The long-term toxicity of hexane in humans is extensive peripheral nervous system failure. The initial symptoms are tingling and cramps in the arms and legs, followed by general muscular weakness. In severe cases, skeletal muscles atrophy and those exposed suffer a loss of coordination and vision problems, the very symptoms Ms. Young reported. …
Ms. Young and her friends are now being told they need a high resolution scan of their lungs, brain, liver and kidneys.
“They’ve also told us that in five to 10 years — they don’t have a time frame, they’re just guessing,” she said, “that we could come down with some godawful form of cancer.”