It doesn't just wash off like they want you to believe. It shows up with this special lighting and doesn't change even with brisk scrubbing. The only time it seems to go away is as it is absorbed into the skin. Translation: Not a good situation at all. Think of all the people who are swimming in the waters even with the visible tar balls and stained sand. They think they are just washing off the toxic substances, but in truth over the days it is seeping into their blood stream.
POWERFUL. I love these 2 amazing women. They are 2 of the strongest voices who are speaking the truth to us of the devastating BP Oil Spill. Skip the mainstream news today and listen to their true accounts instead.
by Kerry Kennedy
More than a year after a private company operating in public waters retched 170 million gallons of crude and 2 million gallons of toxic dispersants into the Gulf of Mexico, creating one of the world's largest environmental catastrophes, we still lack thorough and reliable statistics on the BP oil disaster's impact on the health of residents.
Along with Stephen Bradberry, who is the executive director of the New Orleans-based Alliance Institute and the recipient of the 2005 RFK Human Rights Award, I recently joined a delegation traveling across the Gulf Coast region, speaking with fishermen, oystermen, shrimpers, restaurant workers and neighbors about the illnesses they have suffered in the wake of this calamity.
I couldn't help but think of the trip that my father, Robert Kennedy, made to the Mississippi Delta in 1967. He was horrified by the poverty, the children whose bellies were "swollen with hunger." He believed we had a duty, as a nation, to relieve their suffering and soothe their pain.
Today, the children and grandchildren of those very same families continue to suffer from systemic governmental neglect, the debilitating heritage of communities marginalized by skin color, religion, education level, income or access to power. It is long past time for federal action.
In Biloxi, Miss., a fisherman named Kwan told us he was on a cleanup crew for BP, and he and his fellow fishermen have had rashes across their bodies, which itch until they bleed, ever since. In that city, the health care facility is so over-booked, it takes up to three months for a doctor's appointment.
Catfish Miller, another fisherman, also worked on the cleanup crew for BP. He was denied gloves, a respirator, eyewear or any form of protective gear. He suffered searing headaches, ear infections and sores in his nose and throat for months on end. He said no doctor he went to would tie his ailments to toxic poisoning.
We heard dozens of people across the region talk about similar health problems and obstacles to care, including long travel distances to health facilities and the need for cash outlay among those in cash-strapped communities. There are many other reasons.
Local doctors generally lack access to the expertise, training and equipment to diagnose toxic poisoning. They don't want to be called as expert witnesses in lawsuits with BP. They are afraid of malpractice suits and will not treat patients unless they have specialty training, adding to the disincentives to diagnose. And, with most patients self-employed and uninsured, few can afford the expensive tests and medicines necessary to show causation and obtain proper care.
Last year, President Obama pledged that Gulf residents would be "made whole." To honor that pledge, Congress must ensure that health care is adequate, affordable, proximate and available; that health care workers are trained to diagnose, track and treat toxic poisoning; and that the people of the Gulf are treated with respect, no matter what their background.
There is a solution. The late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy signed the first federal law providing community health care centers to people in need. Today, 23 million Americans depend on those centers for care. Under legislation passed last year, the centers would expand to include 40 million Americans, many of them along the Gulf Coast.
If Republicans in Congress don't make good on their threat to decimate the progress that's already been made, the people of the Gulf might stand a chance.
First responders to the 9/11 tragedy did not have to prove causation in order to get treatment, they only had to show they were in the vicinity of the terrorist attack. Similarly, the 150,000-strong cleanup crew who sacrificed themselves, and their families and neighbors who live along the Gulf Coast, should not have to prove that their symptoms are caused by BP's catastrophe, only that they were there.
It's time for us to provide the families of the Gulf Coast with the health care they deserve.
Kerry Kennedy is president of the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice & Human Rights.
Lies lies lies! Feinberg do you really think we are gonna let your lies just go by. The audacity that he has to say that no one in the clean up process has gotten ill. Does he have access to a computer?
Story from http://bridgethegulfproject.org/node/379
“Feinberg says no claims filed on cleanup illnesses,” ran an erroneous Associated Press headline last week, stirring up more mistrust of the BP claims process among Gulf Coast residents. It is simply not true that sick cleanup workers have not filed medical claims with the Gulf Coast Claims Facility (GCCF), administered by Kenneth Feinberg. Rather, Feinberg and the GCCF appear to be categorically rejecting those claims, saying there is not enough scientific proof that links the illnesses to the BP disaster.
Feinberg told Bridge The Gulf in a recent interview that the GCCF has received “a couple hundred” health claims related to BP cleanup, but has denied all of them for lack of documentation.
What proof do they need?
Feinberg says that the GCCF, which was set up by BP to compensate those impacted by its disaster in the Gulf, would theoretically grant health claims related to the cleanup effort. But he said he has, “reservations about whether those claimants can offer proof,” that the BP disaster caused their ailments.
“What proof do they need?,” asks Sean Kelley, a cleanup worker whose health claim was denied by Feinberg for insufficient documentation. Kelley had direct exposure to the oil. He removed oil from containment booms and laid boom for nearly two months along the Alabama and Mississippi coast. Kelley believes that exposure to BP’s crude oil caused a number of his current health problems, including nausea, headaches, rashes, blurred vision, infections, cardiac issues, and neurological problems like uncontrollable shaking in his limbs, memory loss, and brain fogs that last for hours. He had internal bleeding as well.
Kelley’s denied claim included medical bills from multiple doctor visits, and the results of a test showing his blood contains alarming levels of toxins that are found in BP’s crude oil.
If it is going to reject claims like his, Kelley says, “[the GCCF] has to come out and say what link and documentation they need.”
The GCCF has yet to provide clear guidelines for a cleanup claim it would grant. Even a doctor’s note linking an individual’s cleanup work to their health symptoms might not be enough, says Feinberg, because the “medical community” needs to agree on the linkage.
The burden of documentation
Advocates on the Gulf Coast wonder how many will go untreated – or even die – waiting for the “medical community” to connect their illnesses with the BP disaster.
“No doctors will help anybody,” says Kindra Arensen of Buras, Louisiana. Arnesen, her husband (who worked on the cleanup), and their two children have had infections, respiratory illnesses, headaches, and other ailments since the oil and dispersant disaster began.
Cleanup workers and coastal residents have been diagnosed with acid reflux, stress, and the flu, but seldom chemical poisoning. Some patients say that when they brought up exposure to BP’s crude oil and toxic dispersants, their doctors have laughed, refused to do further testing, or privately admitted they can’t take on BP.
There are other obstacles to the GCCF process that keep people away from filing claims, medical or otherwise. John Bean, a former clean-up worker, resisted filing a medical claim because he didn’t want to sign away his right to sue BP. Giving up that right is a requirement for those who accept a final settlement, which covers all future damages.
Claimants can accept an interim payment without abdicating the right to sue, but that option only reimburses past expenses. This means that people have to pay for expensive medical bills out of pocket, and then hope that the GCCF reimburses them. So far it has not.
This creates a Catch-22 for many sick residents and clean-up workers, Sean Kelley explains; They cannot provide documentation for their claims without tests and doctors visits, but they cannot afford the tests and doctors visits without the GCCF settlement.
Despite these obstacles, John Bean decided to finally file his claim last Friday. Without health insurance, he is facing headaches, diarrhea, vision problems, and a rash that is, “driving me insane.” He decided to file because he needs the money for his medical care.
But rather than helping him file a claim, Bean says a GCCF representative told him he had to file for workman’s compensation with the cleanup subcontractor he worked for.
Feinberg: BP’s agent
“What’s the point?” says Kindra Arnesen when asked if she’s filed a medical claim with Feinberg. “They're not paying out income claims. So surely they're not going to pay our medical claims,” she says. “[Feinberg’s] not here for the people of the Gulf. He here's for BP."
Arnesen’s point is backed up by the Louisiana District Court, which ruled in February that Feinberg was acting on behalf of BP and had to cease claiming to be neutral. Prior to the order, Feinberg frequently told claimants at Town Hall meetings, “I don’t work for BP,” and projected the image that he wanted what’s best for Gulf Coast residents.
That was just one in a series of missteps that have raised serious concerns about the fairness and transparency of Feinberg’s claims process.
Arnesen says that given Feinberg’s clear bias, suing is the only chance she has to get BP to redress her family’s illness.
~Ada McMaho, Writer from Bridge the Gulf
Wow. This is an amazing documentary! I love the people from this part of the country. I know I have said that before but they just touch my heart... Please take the time to watch this wonderful piece of art.
please watch this amazing movie. The people speaking in Ecuador when Texaco/Chevron came down to the rain forest to drill for oil and left a big ole messy spill that now has contaminated all of their water sources and contributed to massive numbers of people with cancers. Texaco just like BP says the same thing that they didn't do anything wrong and that the people are liars. Big oil companies are as corrupt as they come. This is what the people of the Gulf Coast can expect:
please read this article and hear what the people are saying. They are wishing for death because they are so in pain. There must be something we can do for these innocent people.
I just stumbled upon this awesome informative website where this woman shares the story of her son getting sick from the BP oil spill. It was a long journey of many doctors, er visits, and about as many doses of antibiotics as the poor animals from the feed lots get. But he didn't get better because it was not just the flu or a cold or a respiratory illness; it was the poisoning from the oil spill that now mass loads of people down there are living with, and dying from. The website describes it all and lists the chemicals from the oil and the corexit that can poison you just from inhaling them. Did you notice anyone working the clean up crew with masks on? This is just catastrophic on all levels...