Although the BP well was capped last summer, the oil disaster is far from over. Not only is oil still washing ashore along the Gulf Coast, it is also showing up in people’s bodies, sparking concerns about long-term health injuries and retaining Madison Workers compensation lawyers.
In September, November and December, a professional lab in Georgia collected and tested blood samples from 12 people ranging in age from 10 to 66. The test subjects included two children, four men and six women. They included people who participated in cleanup efforts, crabbers from the Biloxi, Mississippi, area and residents of Perdido Key, Alabama.
The Louisiana Environmental Action Network (LEAN) interpreted and recently released the test results. What the results revealed is cause for concern. They showed that four of the individuals tested, specifically three adults and a 10-year-old child, had an unusually high level of benzene, which is a toxic component of crude oil. Benzene exposure is known to be responsible for a number of serious health issues, including anemia, ovarian shrinkage and leukemia.
An environmental chemist with LEAN compared these results with results of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 95th percentile value. Essentially, she looked at the new tests results in relation to some of the highest benzene levels in the general population. The comparison revealed that the benzene levels in four of the recent test subjects fell between 11.9 and 35.8 times higher than the NHANES 95th percentile.
Each of the 12 blood samples contained higher levels of ethylbenzene than the NHANES 95 percentile value. This chemical is dangerous because it causes dizziness, damage to the inner ear and hearing and damage to the kidneys. Ethylbenzene may also cause cancer.
Further, 11 of the 12 blood samples showed high concentration of xylenes, which can cause headaches, confusion, respiratory problems, skin irritation and changes to the liver and kidneys. Tests also uncovered the presence of other toxic chemicals.
Anytime a group of people is exposed to toxic chemicals as a result of someone else’s negligence, the person or entity responsible for the exposure may be held liable for any resulting injuries. We will likely see more information unfold with this story over the coming weeks and months.