Environmental attorney provides update on potential health risks from BP oil spill

NEW ORLEANS, LA, May 3, 2010 -- Research indicates that significant public health impact is not unprecedented from a major oil spill on the water...

NEW ORLEANS, LA, May 3, 2010 -- Research indicates that significant public health impact is not unprecedented from a major oil spill on the water. Commercial fishermen and shrimpers have filed a class-action lawsuit against BP and owners of the oil rig for economic losses stemming from the disaster. The lawsuit will also seek requisite protective equipment, training and air monitoring for response workers.

Mr. Smith released the following statement:
"Reports of chemical exposures have come to my office by those responding to the spill. It is absolutely essential that appropriate personal protective equipment, including VOC respirators, and training be provided to those volunteers responding to the spill. We have been informed that this was not necessarily a step taken in the Exxon Valdez incident and many of the fisherman and volunteer responders became ill. As a result, the Gulf Oil Disaster Recovery Group will be amending our injunctive relief claims to require the provisioning of personal protective equipment and training to all those responding to the spill, and requiring immediate monitoring of the air discharges."

"Questions that should be foremost on everyone's minds are: What are the results of the worst-case air dispersion modeling conducted by BP and the federal government; and, if air dispersion modeling and risk assessment has not been done based on a worst-case scenario, why not?"

"For example, on July 27, 2003, the Greek tanker Tasman Spirit carrying crude oil from Iran to Pakistan ran aground at the entrance to Karachi Port. Later, the ship broke and eventually spilled more than 35,000 tons of oil into the sea and along seven miles of the highly populated residential and recreational coastline."

"Fumes from the volatile organic compounds and mist containing hydrocarbons, accompanied by a strong smell, dispersed into the residential area. Local hospitals reported many cases of headaches, nausea and dizziness, and 17 schools in the vicinity were closed for about a week. Local media showed pictures of piles of dead fish and turtles on the oiled beach. An initial assessment suggested that about 11,000 metric tons of volatile organic compounds entered the air after the spills."

"Back of the envelope calculations today indicate that in excess of 100,000 tons of volatile organic compounds could easily enter the atmosphere from the BP spill in the Gulf, and expose those downwind. Oil is composed of numerous hazardous and toxic carcinogens."

"According to expert toxicologist Dr. William Sawyer, there are three primary human risks associated with exposure to Louisiana crude oil, including direct contact, direct inhalation of volatile hydrocarbons and ozone hazard."

"The people of the Gulf Coast, particularly those in Louisiana, have every reason to demand total and complete information about the potentials of this disaster. The people of this region have been put at risk after Katrina when information failed to be provided in a timely and sufficient manner. This cannot be repeated."

Mr. Smith referenced this link regarding the incident in Pakistan: http://www.ens-newswire.com/ens/apr2006/2006-04-04-03.asp
For information about Mr. Smith, see http://www.smithstag.com/.


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