Poisoned in the Gulf
Poisoned in the Gulf

Investigative Series: Poisoned in the Gulf

In April 2011, Facing South published a week-long investigation into the health crisis emerging on the Gulf Coast in the wake of the BP oil spill disaster. The series looked at the reports of health problems among cleanup workers and coastal residents, and it examined how the current regulatory system failed to prevent harmful exposures.

The investigation also examined the broader problem of the energy industry's impact on community health in the Gulf, the political power wielded by oil companies and other industry interests to thwart regulatory reform, and how the emerging health crisis has turned ordinary citizens into grassroots activists.

Facing South's investigation was featured in other blogs and media outlets, and following its publication other news organizations undertook their own reporting on post-BP spill health concerns. On the policy front, Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) pledged to follow up with BP on medical claims and to hold a meeting addressing health problems related to the spill.

Below is the full week-long series. Thank you for reading -- and thank you for your support of Facing South and our public interest journalism for a better South.

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DAY 1 - POISONED IN THE GULF

A year after BP's Deepwater Horizon rig exploded and caused a massive oil spill, a growing number of cleanup workers and coastal residents are reporting debilitating health problems associated with exposure to toxic chemicals in crude oil and dispersants.

DAY 2 - A REGULATORY DISASTER

Following the BP oil drilling disaster, federal agencies took steps that may have further compromised the health of cleanup workers and Gulf Coast residents.

DAY 3 - CHRONIC EXPOSURE

Along the Gulf Coast, the oil industry's harm to communities' health goes far beyond the BP disaster.

DAY 4 - BLOCKING REFORM

In the Gulf Coast, oil and gas interests have largely succeeded in derailing new health and safety rules in the wake of the BP disaster. A look at the political muscle and economic clout of the Gulf energy lobby.

DAY 5 - BP HEALTH CRISIS SPARKS GRASSROOTS ACTION

The environmental health disaster unfolding along the Gulf Coast has inspired ordinary people to fight for change.

 
 
Poisoned in the Gulf
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re: Investigative Series: Poisoned in the Gulf

Thousands of people were exposed to Corexit and other chemicals sprayed in the waterways along the Gulf Coast. Although the boats and planes spraying the toxins generally attempted to spray at night, or away from populated areas, their efforts were unsuccessful. Thousands were sprayed directly, or swam through the puddles of Corexit without knowledge. The public was never warned, so people had no idea to avoid the water or beaches. Here in Panama City, FL, clean-up workers and beach goers are developing interesting rashes, sores, headaches, and various types of cancers. The problem for us lawyers is proving causation.
It makes sense that BP was accompanied by the Coast Guard, NOAA and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (people filling positions at those agencies which were funded by BP) to tell the people along the coast that "No Dispersants were used in Florida waters." Clearly, someone at BP understands the danger involved if such a ridiculous public relations campaign is their approach to the problem.