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Gulf Oil Syndrome: America's Next Health Crisis?

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posted on Jun, 11 2010 @ 08:14 PM

More than 50 days after oil began spewing into the crystal waters of the Gulf of Mexico, I want to take a step back from all the finger pointing and political speculation, and talk about the innocent lives at stake because of the health hazard this disaster has created: Gulf Oil Syndrome.

With reports of oil spill workers falling ill, and in some cases, even being hospitalized with flu-like symptoms including nausea, headache, dizziness and even chest pains — presumably due to exposure to toxic chemicals being emitted from the 33-million gallon slick, it’s only a matter of time before people start coming down with Gulf Oil Syndrome.

Remember 9/11? Of course you do, it’s a day in American history that none of us will ever forget. After those horrific acts of terrorism claimed the lives of thousands, we watched as first responders worked round the clock to try to pick up the pieces. And as the days rolled on, and their search and rescue missions turned to search and recover, we praised their dedication in their efforts to bring closure to grieving families.

In the months that followed, conversations started to emerge about the potential health hazards the rescue personnel may be exposed to during the massive cleanup. Immediately after the attacks, of course, no one focused on any of these concerns because there were more urgent needs.

In the years since the attacks, complaints of significant health issues and even death in Ground Zero responders and survivors have been heard and lawsuits have been filed. Finally, in July 2009, New York legislators introduced the James Zadroga 9/11 Health Compensation Act, and we seem to be making progress as health coverage and compensation for victims and their families remain a priority for legislators championing these programs.

But why did it take so long? What have we learned from the mistakes and injustices that these people suffered through to change the course of how we look after the health of Americans who respond in times of disaster?

On day 15 of the oil spill, I wrote a blog about the health implications of a spill of this magnitude, titled “Will the Oil Spill Be Dangerous to Your Health?” I pointed out the potential health hazards of the hydrocarbons and alkenes in the oil, both of which are carcinogens.

I described the damaging effects that heavy metals can have on the immune system of pregnant women and people with compromised immune systems or underlying respiratory diseases. Some of our viewers responded by calling me an alarmist, accused me of fear mongering and told me how stupid I am not to realize that dilution is the solution, and that these toxins only posed a threat through repeated exposure.

Today, reports have begun to surface that county health departments in Florida’s western Panhandle have started posting warnings off a six-mile stretch of beach, advising people not to swim or fish in the oil-polluted waters. Officials are warning beachgoers — pregnant women and children in particular — to avoid skin contact with oily waters and dead sea animals; obvious casualties of the massive spill.

"Young children, pregnant women, people with compromised immune systems and individuals with underlying respiratory conditions should avoid the area," the advisory states.

Theoretically, people suffering from this Gulf Oil Syndrome may not see the same effects as the workers who have been entrenched in the toxins since day one. But my prediction is that citizens living in the areas surrounding the spill site, will start to report symptoms like chronic fatigue, weakened immune systems, chronic respiratory illnesses, and skin irritation.

We don’t know the long-term health effects that this catastrophe will have on the clean-up workers and communities exposed but Gulf Oil Syndrome will surely linger for decades.

I can only hope that the federal government has learned from their mistakes with the handling of the health crises following 9/11, and will start setting aside some money to take care of the next wave of victims facing a future of health problems.

From User: Anonymous Coward

I had just watched the Video about this on fox news and I was going to do a write on it. I did a web search and found a forum entry that summed up most of the points I was going to make.

I would like to add that I have several friends employed in the clean up effort.

I have told them they need to wear resperators but they are all being told that if they do they will be fired. They didn't come right out and say it but it was implied.

Here in Hancock County MS I went through a PEC class so I can go onscene as a first responder if needed with the EMA. However working search and rescue I am not activated as part of the response. I also have hazmat training and i know the dangers of both accute exposure and chronic exposure. Those guys working around liquid oil need resperators on because of the Benzene, Benzine, and several others.

I cannot beleive the locals are allowing this to happen.

Now for a peice of good news.

The MSNG has begun its own independant air testing and I have direct access to its results. over the next weeks I will be compairing them with the EPA results and will report any annomilies.

Edit to remove broken link

[edit on 11-6-2010 by SWCCFAN]

posted on Jun, 11 2010 @ 08:17 PM
You could call them Gulf Oil Syndrome Headaches, or GOSH, that sucks.

posted on Jun, 12 2010 @ 03:13 PM
There is stuff you can do.
An ozone generator (Not a negative-ion generator unless it is a cheap one that spews unintended ozone) I used to rent these to get stinks out of a house and I know from expereince that an ozone generator will get rid of any hydrocarbon odor.

Ozone is so reactive that it will attack rubber gaskets, and oxidize those turning them to ash. What you are doing if you generate ozone in a benzine contaminated environment, is to burn the benzine... all you get is CO2.

Mammals that breath oxygen have extensive mechanisms for dealing with oxygen, there is a metabolic pathway for errant O.

To build an ozone machine requires a 5-10 thousand volt AC source at very low take a piece of window glass, or a large mason jar, cover both sides with window screen, allow an inch space from the edges so sparks dont jump. Dont use tape or ozone will burn them off too.

Ome side of glass goes to 5000 volts other side goes to the power supply ground (the case), you will hear a sizzle... and the thing will look pretty in the dark...

Run it until you smell the ozone... Years ago I bought an ignition transformer, 7700 Volts AC at 5 milliamps. Thats what i used for my ozone machine, which I am now putting back together.. just in case the stench comes here.

Low levels of ozone occur naturally, high concentrations are deadly... maybe Ill do a webpage with plans but Im sure other people have. The secret of ozone instead of "negative ions" is using AC at high boltage across a lossy dielectric like glass.

Ozone will keep you from breathing the toxins.. they can no exist for very long in its presence. Id turn off the ozone machine once the smell is gone. Do not leave the device running unattended and I suggest finding an electronics friend to help you. The 5000 volts will kill you so there is no room for error, don't make this unless you know something about electricity., PLEASE.

If you live in smelling distance of this mess, you have a choice. Breath a bit of ozone and get some mild respirator irritation -or- risk neurological damage, liver damage, kidney damage from benzene et. al.

[edit on 12-6-2010 by seataka]

[edit on 12-6-2010 by seataka]

posted on Jun, 12 2010 @ 03:17 PM
reply to post by seataka

and you go to the epa web site and all they post is the OZONE chart
at least as of friday june 11

whats up with that I wonder....?

posted on Jun, 12 2010 @ 03:30 PM
ozone is natures way of cleaning the air.

Sunlight 'acts' to freshen laundry because of the generated ozone in the damp fabric while exposed to the sun. Ozone is like sunshine... spores, bacteria, ethylene, methylene all oxidize.. and turn to CO2 in its presence.

I have noted that ozone has been demonized into a 'bad guy' over the years.. I have used industrial ozone machines many times. I have lived in its presence (been able to smell it) for weeks and suffered no discomfort of any kind, actually I felt a lot better, because I killed a hydrocarbon stink coming up from a basement where I removed some floortile and the old adhesive still smelled toxic.

But not any more.

[edit on 12-6-2010 by seataka]

posted on Jun, 13 2010 @ 11:59 AM

People Fall ill in BP Spill Cleanup #1 - May 27, 2010

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