Nine months have passed since the Gulf oil spill, and residents continue to see more and more negative outcomes from the tragedy.
This month, the Louisiana Environmental Action Network released the blood test results from 12 Gulf residents between the ages of 10 and 66 that were taken in September, November, and December of 2010. According to Treehugger, these people consisted of cleanup workers, crabbers, and people living along the coast. The study consisted of six women, four men, and two boys, aged 10 and 11.
Four of the people had unusually high levels of benzene, which, according to the ISS, 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 were all crabbers from the Biloxi area, and consisted of three adults and one 10-year-old boy.
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 a whole slew of other ailments.
The two children had the most exposure of chemicals in their systems. The 10-year-old is currently experiencing severe respiratory problems as a result of the exposure.
Cherri Foytlin, co-founder of the grassroots group Gulf Change, is disturbed that the government isn't doing all that it can to address the health problems of Gulf residents. She told the President's oil spill commission:
"Today I'm talking to you about my life. My ethylbenzene levels are 2.5 times the [NHANES] 95th percentile, and there's a very good chance now that I won't get to see my grandbabies."
Though promises have been made to reopen the health issues at the White House, Gulf residents remain waiting for it to be done.
Read the full evaluative report here.