Feds Say Cleaning Fluid May Have Sickened Gulf Cleanup Workers
If true, the cause of the illness contradicts claims by BP’s CEO, Tony Hayward, who claimed the illness may be unrelated to the spill and instead could be the symptoms of food poisoning.
The theory is being pursued as a growing number of workers are beginning to voice concerns that a different chemical, the dispersant Corexit, is making them sick. The EPA has urged BP to scale back on the use of the dispersant in part because of its toxicity.
Seven workers were hospitalized May 26 after experiencing nausea, dizziness and headaches. Four more workers were hospitalized on May 28, two of whom experienced chest pains.
David Michaels, the assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health, told McClatchy that the possible cause arose out of a preliminary investigation by BP and it was determined that the workers might not have been properly instructed on the use of the cleaner. It’s also possible that the workers were made ill by a combination of causes including long hours working in the heat and exposure to fumes, he said.
“The preliminary conclusion was reached,” he said. “From a public health point of view, we make decisions based on the best available evidence. But we believe it’s important to get additional information to identify the cause or causes of these workers getting sick.”Click here for reuse options!
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