Almost a year has passed since the Gulf oil spill. Unfortunately, much of the country’s attention has been diverted to more recent events. But residents in the coastal counties continue to see more and more negative outcomes from the tragedy. When the Louisiana Environmental Action Network released the blood test results from 12 Gulf residents between the ages of ten and 66 that were taken in September, November, and December of 2010, the results were alarming. According to reports, these people were cleanup workers, crabbers, and people living along the coast. Four men, and two boys, aged ten and 11, were involved in the study.
Four of the people had unusually high levels of benzene, which is a highly-toxic chemical from crude oil. It has been linked to many health problems, including anemia, leukemia, irregular menstrual periods and ovarian shrinkage. Those four individuals, three adults and one ten-year-old boy, were all crabbers from the Biloxi area. Ethylbenzene was detected in all 12 blood samples from Gulf residents at high levels, and 11 of the 12 individuals had relatively high concentrations of xylenes. Ethylbenzene can cause damage to hearing and to the ear, dizziness, kidney damage, and may even cause cancer. Xylene can cause dizziness, headaches, skin irritation, confusion, and several other ailments. The two children had the greatest exposure of chemicals in their systems. The ten-year-old was experiencing severe respiratory problems as a result of the exposure. Hopefully, the federal government and the media won’t ignore the potential health issues that the oil spill has caused.
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