Gulf resident Cherri Foytlin pleads for medical help for Gulf residents as they continue to get sick both from the oil and from the Corexit used in the Gulf oil cleanup:
NEW ORLEANS, Louisiana - In an emotionally charged meeting this week sponsored by the National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill, fishermen, Gulf residents and community leaders vented their increasingly grave concerns about the widespread health issues brought on by the three-month-long disaster.
"Today I'm talking to you about my life," Cherri Foytlin told the two commissioners present at the Jan. 12 meeting. "My ethylbenzene levels are 2.5 times the 95th percentile, and there's a very good chance now that I won't get to see my grandbabies...What I'm asking you to do now, if possible, is to amend . Because we have got to get some health care."
Ethylbenzene is a form of benzene present in the body when it begins to break down. It is also present in BP's crude oil.
"I have seen small children with lesions all over their bodies," Foytlin, co-founder of Gulf Change, a community organisation based in Grand Isle, Louisiana, continued.
"We are very, very ill. And dead is dead. So it really doesn't matter if the media comes back... or the president hears us, or... if the oil workers and the fishermen and the crabbers get to feed their babies and maybe have a good Christmas next year... Dead is dead...I know your job is probably already done, but I'd like to hire you if you don't mind. And God knows I can't pay you. But I need your heart. And I need your voice."
[...] Dr. Soto is finding disconcertingly consistent and high levels of toxic chemicals in every one of the patients he is testing.
"I'm regularly finding between five and seven VOCs in my patients," Dr. Soto told IPS. "These patients include people not directly involved in the oil clean-up, as well as residents that do not live right on the coast. These are clearly related to the oil disaster."
Nevertheless, U.S. government agencies like the Environmental Protection Agency, Food and Drug Administration, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, along with President Obama himself, have declared the Gulf of Mexico, its waters, beaches, and seafood, safe and open to the public.