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Read this before you volunteer to help clean up the BP oil spill...

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posted on Jul, 4 2010 @ 08:47 PM
I understand that many of you want to do the right thing and help clean up this BP oil spill. However, I urge you to read this before you do. It just may save your life, your friends, or a loved ones.

Here is a short article on a woman who volunteered to clean up the Exxon oil spill and ended up with smoker's lungs. She volunteered for only four months.

Merle Savage has a wheezy, guttural smoker's cough. But the 71-year-old former Alaska resident and author of Silence in the Sound never smoked a day in her life. She did, however, spend four months as a general foreman during the Exxon Valdez oil spill recovery project in 1989. And she has a message for anyone working at the BP oil disaster sites: "You've got to use your common sense. Breathing crude oil is toxic."

Savage moved to Alaska in 1988--just one year before the Exxon Valdez oil spill ravaged Prince William Sound. After the spill, Savage decided to take action. She was assigned to clean oil-coated rocks on the beach, but says that Exxon never provided legitimate safety training. And since Exxon never told her that breathing crude oil was toxic, she didn't think twice about spraying hot water onto the oily rocks.

When the dizziness and vomiting set in, Savage assumed it was just the flu. "We were housed in close quarters, and I could see how the flu could go around repeatedly," she says. The "flu" continued as Savage moved into a position as general foreman on the spill's cleanup barges. But she didn't realize quite how much her health had deteriorated until leaving the cleanup operation.

"I was in the doctor's office continually," Savage says. "She always heard my stomach rolling and one day she said 'Have you eaten anything toxic or had any contaminated water?' I said no, never thinking it was the crude oil." Savage went on to develop a frightening list of symptoms: cirrhosis of the liver (she doesn't drink), rheumatoid arthritis, constant diarrhea, and respiratory problems.

When Savage was contacted by Riki Ott, a marine toxicologist specializing in oil pollution, she finally put the pieces together. According to Ott, respiratory and central nervous system problems are common among oil spill cleanup workers. In a recent blog post, she explains her concerns:

Oil spill cleanups are regulated as hazardous waste cleanups because oil is, in fact, hazardous to health.

Oil spill cleanups are regulated as hazardous waste cleanups because oil is, in fact, hazardous to health. Breathing oil fumes is extremely harmful...Unfortunately, Exxon called the short-term symptoms, "the Valdez Crud," and dismissed 6,722 cases of respiratory claims from cleanup workers as "colds or flu" using an exemption under OSHA’s hazardous waste cleanup reporting requirements. I know of many who have been disabled by their illnesses – or have died.

The same symptoms--headache, nausea, coughing--are being reported by workers cleaning up the BP oil disaster. Savage, now retired and living in Las Vegas, hopes today's oil spill workers know what's really going on with their health. "Had I known the truth, I wouldn't have gone to clean up the spill," she says. "I am living and breathing now, but it's not by the grace of Exxon."


posted on Jul, 4 2010 @ 08:57 PM
reply to post by bputman

[edit on 4 -7 -2010 by British Petroleum]

posted on Jul, 4 2010 @ 09:32 PM
reply to post by Esoteric Teacher

LOL good work.

It's common sense to me that anybody helping clean up this ongoing mess should be wearing lots of safety gear. If BP (or whoever) says that you can't wear safety gear (because it doesn't look good), then the best option is to not help, I guess.

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