Fishermen Getting Sick in Gulf Cleanup

Lawmaker wants mobile clinics funded by BP
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted May 26, 2010 4:16 PM CDT
Fishermen Cleaning Up Oil Spill Getting Sick
Researchers wear breathing masks as they pass through oil in the Gulf of Mexico.   (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

More reports are surfacing about fishermen getting sick while cleaning up the Gulf oil spill, and a Louisiana congressman wants BP to pay for mobile clinics, reports the Los Angeles Times. With the "top kill" strategy under way at the ocean bottom, the fishermen on the surface are complaining of dizziness, nausea, and breathing problems after working long hours close to chemical dispersants and the oil itself.

Rep. Charlie Melancon has asked both the federal government and BP to provide fast medical treatment, so far with no luck. "I ain't never run on anything like this," one longtime fisherman tells the Times. He attended a training session but got no protective equipment. BP says the dispersants are safe, but a marine toxicologist sees the same pattern of "sick animals and sick people" as with the Exxon Valdez spill. "What are we exposing these poor fishermen to?"
(More Gulf oil spill stories.)

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