A study conducted out of UAB on human and animal cells in a controlled setting has confirmed what residents of the Louisiana coast have suspected for some time. The chemical dispersant Corexit 9500A used to disperse oil from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010 causes increased cell death, which can damage the respiratory health of humans and animals exposed to the chemical.
The abnormal tissue and cell mutations in air passages can lead to a number of severe health problems. Since the oil spill and the cleanup effort, many cleanup workers as well as residents of Southern Louisiana have developed strange respiratory illnesses and skin conditions believed to be linked to exposure to Corexit. However, BP and the federal government have so far done nothing to address these concerns.
Response from BP
A spokesperson for BP responded to the study by stating that it did not show the use of Corexit to clean up the oil spill in 2010 had caused health problems for gulf residents and that EPA approved levels of Corexit were used in the cleanup. However, Veera Anthony, M.D. and senior author of the UAB study, was quoted as saying that as many as 48,000 workers in the gulf may have inhaled Corexit fumes. While BP is correct in stating that the study was conducted in a lab and showed only the effects of Corexit on lab cells, the connection between Corexit and the illnesses residents are now experiencing seems clear.
Despite the troubling consequences of Corexit found in the study, researchers did make some promising discoveries as to a possible treatment for health problems caused by Corexit. The enzyme HO-1, the study found, could potentially protect against and repair cell damage. Researchers have recommended that because more oil spills are likely, the research on this treatment should be explored further.
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Did You Know? The BP oil spill left around 210 million gallons of Louisiana crude and 1.8 million gallons of dispersant in the Gulf of Mexico.
Galloway Jefcoat LLP – Personal Injury Attorneys