Are BP’s Dispersants Making People Sick?

Facts matter: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter. Support our nonprofit reporting. Subscribe to our print magazine.


Anecdotal reports are beginning to emerge that the chemical dispersants that BP is using to break up crude oil in the gulf are making clean-up workers sick. Pro Publica’s Marian Wang (a former of Mojo intern) has been following the story, and points to reports in the LA Times and New Orleans TV station WDSU. Of course, drawing a direct link between the dispersants and the sicknesses will be tough.

It’s worth noting that workers who cleaned up the Exxon Valdez spill also reported health problems, which scientists suspected were tied to exposure to the polyaromatic hydrocarbons and other substances found in crude oil. These same PAHs are also a suspected cause of health problems in communities around Canada’s tar sands.

UPDATE: Due to concerns about the health of clean-up workers, the Coast Guard and BP have recalled all 125 private vessels that were helping to contain the spill around Louisiana’s Breton Sound. Medical experts are being dispatched to evaluate them. While it’s good to know that BP and the government are taking occupational hazards seriously, one has to wonder who, if anyone, is now cleaning up the oil.

WE'RE TAKING A SHORT BREAK…

from the big banner at the top of our pages asking for the donations that make Mother Jones' nonprofit journalism possible. But we still have upwards of $300,000 to raise by June 30, whether we get there is going to come down to the wire, and we can't afford to come up short.

If you value the reporting you get from Mother Jones and you can right now, please join your fellow readers who pitch in from time to time to keep our democracy-advancing, justice-seeking journalism charging hard (and to help us avoid a real budget crunch as June 30 approaches and our fiscal year ends).

payment methods

WE'RE TAKING A SHORT BREAK…

from the big banner at the top of our pages asking for the donations that make Mother Jones' nonprofit journalism possible. But we still have upwards of $300,000 to raise by June 30, whether we get there is going to come down to the wire, and we can't afford to come up short.

If you value the reporting you get from Mother Jones and you can right now, please join your fellow readers who pitch in from time to time to keep our democracy-advancing, justice-seeking journalism charging hard (and to help us avoid a real budget crunch as June 30 approaches and our fiscal year ends).

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate