Sunday, June 06, 2010

Interview with a Valdez Worker,Merle Savage, who has a Message...

This is Merle Savage, a Clean Up Worker from the Valdez Oil Spill of 1989.While blogging about the Current Gulf Oil Spill and the possible health effects for Clean Up workers and residents, Merle very nicely left a message and introduced herself in the comments. As the Gulf Oil Disaster continues, workers have been complaining of Flu Like Symptoms and variety of other complaints, and are now showing up at Emergency Rooms in the Gulf. BP has been dismissive of their complaints blaming Heat and even labeling complaints as " Food poisoning." Merle reached out because she too was concerned about the Workers health and safety.

So I read her work and links and I also called her and interviewed her by phone, as a nurse I wanted to hear her thoughts and concerns and learn from her. She has a message and as she had worked the Vadez Disaster and did have health complaints and concerns. She also explained that many of the workers had health issues at the time,they all had a variety of symptoms from working the Clean Up of the site, they had the "Valdez Crud".

The First part of her Letter caught my eye :
"The workers who are cleaning up the oil in the Gulf need to be aware of the chemicals that will be used. I am one of the 11,000+ cleanup workers from the Exxon Valdez oil spill (EVOS), who is suffering from health issues from that toxic cleanup, without compensation from Exxon.

My name is Merle Savage; a female general foreman during the Exxon Valdez oil spill (EVOS) beach cleanup in 1989, which turned into 21 years of extensive health deterioration for me, and many other workers. Dr. Riki Ott visited me in 2007 to explain about the toxic spraying on the beaches. She also informed me that Exxon's medical records and the reports that surfaced in litigation by sick workers in 1994, had been sealed from the public, making it impossible to hold Exxon responsible for their actions."

{ Riki Ott has been featured on numerous shows this past month and interviews and her interviews are on posts below.}
On interview Merle explained that they all worked long shifts and many did suffer the symptoms from being exposed to the oil and chemicals, they had respiratory symptoms, coughs,nasal and sinus irritation. Videos from that time people can be heard coughing and hacking in the background. She said they also had GI symptoms, as well.She said that they would wake up and go to sleep feeling that way with no end in sight, that it was common among workers to feel that way,"Fluish". I asked her if they were given respirators, or masks and she said no. She also repeated that she thought it would have helped to have masks as they were breathing the fumes in as they sprayed the rocks and coastline. She said that there were medical doctors and nurses available for assessment, but it's not clear why the Medical personnel did not intervene to provide better respiratory care or precautions for the coughing "Flu" plagued workers.

The other disturbing part of her story is that the Workers Health was not followed and that it does not sound like anyone other than Dr.Ott took an interest in their health after their important work cleaning the site. 11,000 Workers is a large number that should have been followed and offered followup medical care, after working such a hazardous site with exposure to Oil and Chemicals. Dr.Ott is currently down in the Gulf attempting to make certain that she can advocate for the Current Cleanup Workers health. It is true that there was a lawsuit and that might have prevented some sharing of data and documentation, but OSHA and NIOSH and CDC should have compiled and studied the data from this Event. And that data at this point would better protect current workers.

{ OSHA"s current factsheet for the Clean Up Workers does not fully address the Dispersant Issues or the respiratory risks. }
"Exxon developed the toxic spraying; OSHA, the Coast Guard, and the state of Alaska authorized the procedure; VECO and other Exxon contractors implemented it. Beach crews breathed in crude oil that splashed off the rocks and into the air -- the toxic exposure turned into chronic breathing conditions and central nervous system problems, along with other massive health issues. Some of the illnesses include neurological impairment, chronic respiratory disease, leukemia, lymphoma, brain tumors, liver damage, and blood disease. "

When I read this part of her letter, I was struck by the current use of COREXIT being used and the possible risks to Clean Up Workers. I asked her if they were given any information or extra protective equipment and she said no. She also very honestly described her symptoms and illnesses that lasted for years. She worked hard to fight the symptoms she was left with and to lead a vibrant life and to regain some balance of health. After reading what she wrote, one could not help but wonder, how many of that 11,000 were left damaged by the toxic burden of their Clean Up Efforts of 1989 ? And did any of them really get the help or care they needed ? And are we repeating those mistakes even now in the Gulf ?
"My web site is devoted to searching for EVOS cleanup workers who were exposed to the toxic spraying, and are suffering from the same illnesses that I have. Our summer employment turned into a death sentence for many -- and a life of unending medical conditions for the rest of us – Exxon’s Collateral Damaged." { Merle Savage's Website : "Silence In the Sound"}

Merle's website is excellent, very helpful for all to read. But after reading her site, and watching Ricki Ott on video interviews, I am concerned as a Nurse as to why BP is in charge of the Health of the Current Clean up workers and is OSHA involved and EPA and NIOSH and CDC are they monitoring the health of the workers ? And why aren't respiratory masks being given to the workers ? And why is BP being allowed to work the workers for long shifts increasing the exposure risks ? And the "Floatels" and the "Tent Cities" that BP is supposedly planning , WHO will monitor worker health and safety on site ? IS it unreasonable 21 years after Valdez to hope that the Clean Up Workers Safety and Health would be better protected than the 1989 Workers ?
I asked her what is the message that she would like to share with those watching the disaster unfold in the Gulf and also the Workers, here is her eloquent response:

"BP isn't going to tell the truth about how toxic the crude oil is. The President is listening to his advisors, who are uninformed about the 21 years of health issues from the Exxon Valdez workers, who were exposed to the crude oil. So who will the workers believe? BP has a cover their butt agenda, and Obama wants to kick someone's butt, and point blame at anyone. People in the Gulf have only one option, make their own judgement call, after getting the facts."
(Merle's complete letter is in comments if you wish to contact her ).
(Riki Ott video from June2nd post)
Dr. Ricki Ott Marine Biologist explains the Lessons from the Valdez Disaster:

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Gulf Oil Disaster : Day 45 Thurday June3rd,2010 The Silent Victims, The Damage Done....

"To stand at the edge of the sea, to sense the ebb and flow of the tides, to feel the breath of a mist moving over a great salt marsh, to watch the flight of shore birds that have swept up and down the surf lines of the continents for untold thousands of year, to see the running of the old eels and the young shad to the sea, is to have knowledge of things that are as nearly eternal as any earthly life can be.”~Rachel Carson
Today the BIG PICTURE released their photo montage of the Oiled Birds from the Gulf Coast "Caught In the Oil". It must be seen and shared, it is horrendous, it is Documenting the Damage. And sadly tonight I am posting some photos, because it is time. Below I will have updates regarding actual Damage Numbers and also list of places to donate and help the Wildlife in the Gulf, and other Media that is covering this part of the Disaster.

Another post that must be seen, heartbreaking and graphic is is by Alheli Picazo on with photographs AP photographer Charlie Reidel.
And this is her actual Blog post with smaller photos, "Wildlife – Brought To You By BP".
I do encourage that if you live in the Gulf to please do take photos and video, and if you want me to post any here on Twitter I will post. ( I will also protect your privacy if needed, and give credit as requested. I also am willing to post Interviews and On Scene Updates from the Gulf.)
Has the Truth been Muzzled : Interfering with America and World Seeing the Damage?
Today is Day 45 It is striking that we have not seen more photos and videos on the Internet or in the Press until today. Today at 4:45 PM finally Video came forth on CNN from Anderson Cooper that actually showed Oil Drenched Birds gasping for air as they were rescued on Grand Isle. By the Time the Evening News Came on, NBC and CBS were both showing more horrifying footage of Oil Damaged birds struggling to move and breath. From another standpoint, do look at these photos from the NYT , especially the Massive FishKill photos and it is easy to also understand these birds if not oiled are in huge danger of eating Poisoned Fish.

The Bigger question is why have we not seen the Wildlife photos, both damaged and or dead up until now ? Because BP has been carefully controlling, strong arming the Visual Aspects of this disaster. But I also do not have an answer why Federal Dept of Fish and Wildlife or NOAA or even Coast Guard could not have been releasing Footage and photos of what is being seen in the Gulf. We as a Country need to see the Damage, the Reality of what has been wrought upon our precious fragile Gulf Ecosystem.The Damage is historic and must be documented by all involved. It is unfathomable why BP who is facing Criminal Investigation is being allowed to control what we see, The Evidence , from the Crime Scene.

On another level the Boston Globe, New York Times and Washington Post has been trying to post what photographs and images that they do have, but there is still very little that has been seen from Residents of the Gulf. As someone who lives currently in another part of the Country I am encouraging our Gulf Neighbors to please post photos and video on the Internet, via YouTube, and photo servers ( Flickr,photobucket etc) and Twitpic/Twitter/Skype.

BP to some degree appears to be very much controlling the Message by having Contracted employees and Gulf Helpers sign papers/ contracts to not speak of what they "see" and witness. In other ways BP is quartering off Beaches have citizens and reporters threatened with arrest, but also preventing them from documenting damage to their own beaches. The Fishermen and Shrimpers that have volunteered to help with Clean Up or in a very sensitive position as they can not risk losing this short term source of work and payment by speaking to press, regarding what they see ( or of physical complaints or concerns as well). It is concerning that BP is attempting to control the Truth and also perhaps is now intimidating the Residents and workers in the Gulf. BP has also been quartering off Beaches, and making access unavailable for people to check on the Water and the creatures, they know if they see Netting and Barriers there is Damage.

Other Media Sources are raising Concern regarding BP's Muzzling of Press in this Crisis:
(1) From "Media reports BP allegedly suppressing pictures of dead dolphins & turtles ).

(2) Think Progress has more about the questionable issues that are arising as all of us ask WHERE are the Photos ?

(3) This was brought forth by Jay Rosen, Did BP make fishermen sign a contract banning them from speaking to media about what they "saw" on the job ?

(4) The real question is WHO is responsible for showing us the truth, the reality, the depth of this tragedy, the Media ? the Government ? BP ? WHO ? Maybe all of the Above. Brian Ross's story on ABC asks did BP and the Federal Government withhold Video that would have showed the true mammoth dimensions of this Man Made Disaster? But if BP and NOAA lied about the Gusher Flow and Volume, then of course we need to ask questions even about the smallest victims.

What are the Actual Statistics at this time regarding the Wildlife and the Birds. The IBRRC has been an amazing resource as they continue to work saving Birds daily. Meanwhile if you want to learn more about other effected creatures there is more here from NWF regarding growing Evidence of OilSpill's Impacts on Dolphins, Sea Turtles, especially the death of a variety of Turtles is over 225, which is not the norm, and not all were oiled. Dead Dolphin numbers are up as well.

(1) The IBRRC Bird numbers are higher on Friday: As Noon June 3: 85 oiled live; 527 collected dead; 25 released.

(2) From IBRRC Day45 Gulf AnimalReport:Total 604 documented birds affected in OilSpill :PDF download breaks down the chart of which animals were found dead, dead and oiled. Concerning about this report is the number of animals that are being found dead and not oiled. Including the Turtle number which is over 200 and the Dolphin number which is also rising. I did write to IBRRC today and ask if the Necropsies are assessing exposure or toxic burden of Dispersants ? I asked if they had been tested. I will post results when I know more. On another level are animals and birds dying from eating contaminated "food" ( fish etc), that has been contaminated with Oil and or Dispersant.

**** Do go to the IBRRC and learn more about their work, and their research, and you can even support their work, and "adopt" a bird in the Gulf.
More Information about the Damaged Wounded Wildlife and Learning How to Help
(1) On the Internet and on Twitter, I encourage you to follow @IBRRC and @DawnDishSoap they are both doing admirable work rescuing and caring for the Oil Damaged Birds and wildlife. @IBRRC has been caring for the Birds and also their website and twitter page has updates of rescues, care and also of Releases. (IBRRC is an International Bird Rescue organization that was contracted early on to work on this ecological disaster.) Dawn Dish Soap posted this link to the that is information from the Audobon Action Center of how people can help.

(2) This is the Latest Gulf Wildlife report:Total 604 documented birds affected in OilSpill : See PDF download here and more Updates coming soon. This was posted by IBRRC. It is true that if you look at the report carefully there are still a significant number of Un-Oiled Animals dying, this raises questions about the Dispersant. I have written to IBRRC and asked to please inquire as to whether the Dispersant is being tested in the necropsied animals. It is alos relevant at this point to ask if we are now starting to see the Oil and Dispersant have entered the Water Column and the Food Chain. Marine Experts will have to document and determine the damage of this Disaster. Please do Follow @IBRRC and @DawnDishSoap on Twitter and support their brave work caring for the fragile Oiled Creatures.

(3) If you do want to help, donate or contribute here is the earlier post that links Volunteer organizations that are working in the Gulf. This post will be updated tonight with more information of where to help and assist.

(4) As of yesterday the Fishing Zone by NOAA was declared, expanding the No Fishing Zones to 37% of the Gulf, >88,000 SqMiles,which no one has mentioned in relation to the Wildlife feeding zones. (Here is the NOAA MAP showing the massive area where Fishing is not allowed). Many of the Wildlife , Birds (ie.pelicans and egrets,gannets) are fishing in those zones for food, they may not be Oiled yet, but they may also be eating contaminated Fish. They therefore face added Risks and Death just trying to feed themselves. The Turtles who swim deep for their food also face the same Dangers. The examples of this devastating chain of damage can be followed closer by following the work on Twitter of the Audobon Society,Defense of Wildlife, NRDC and the Costeau Family and Sierra Club.
{Enlarged NOAA No Fishing Map LINK here.}
June 2nd NOAA Map shows NO FISHING AREAS ( please do note the Waveland Dead Fish shown above in NYT link-raises questions as to whether the NO FISHING ZONE should include Waveland,Miss). Concern is that People are not Fishing in the Zones on this Map. But Animals are and may suffer damage or death from the Oil and the dispersants, even by eating fish from this NO FISH ZONED area (which spans >88,000 Sq.Miles) ?

{{ NOAA PDF with more information re; NO FISH Zone.}}

The Gulf needs our Support and creative compassionate skills to help with this Disaster, please do think of ways you can help our Neighbors in the Gulf.

Gulf Oil Disaster : Day 45 Thursday June 3,2010 Blog being Updated.....

Leatherback turtle...
"To stand at the edge of the sea, to sense the ebb and flow of the tides, to feelthe breath of a mist moving over a great salt marsh, to watch the flight of shore birds that have swept up and down the surf lines of the continents for untold thousands of year, to see the running of the old eels and the young shad to the sea, is to have knowledge of things that are as nearly eternal as any earthly life can be.”~Rachel Carson
Sadly today's post that is being on the Damage Done....and the Silent Victims of this Disaster....( Two posts being readied for tonight, one is on the Wildlife Damage and the other post is on Health Precautions).

Rescued Oiled Turtles that are being taken for care....

Too Late....

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

OIL DISASTER IN THE GULF UPDATE: June2nd Day 44 Updates in Gulf

( Gannett gets cared #FF @IRBBC for more bird,wildlife updates...)
To see more photos of damaged animals and wildlife and marshes and wetlands This photo collection from Amy with GreenPeace is stunning....and heartbreaking, but must be shared.
Updates from Tuesday Evening June 1st

(1) By the time the evening news was on CNN and all evening news were reporting that 31% of Gulf is closed to fishing due to the Oilspill. (Click this map and you can see how the NOAA maps have expanded.)

(2)4PM Tuesday BreakingNews:Attorney General Opens Criminal Probe of Gulf Oil Spill. Most of the News Stations covered it in a variety of ways, but this is Holder's Actual Prepared Statement regarding opening Investigations and Reviews in the Gulf. It would have been helpful if more of the Stations had aired and re-aired the actual reading by Holder of this statement.
From Holder's Prepared Statement ( section ):
"There is one thing I will not let be forgotten in this incident: In addition to the extensive costs being borne by our environment and by communities along the Gulf Coast, the initial explosion and fire also took the lives of 11 rig workers. Eleven innocent lives lost. As we examine the causes of the explosion and subsequent spill, I want to assure the American people that we will not forget the price those workers paid.

During the early stages of the response efforts, I sent a team of attorneys including the head of the Environment and Natural Resources Division, Ignacia Moreno, and the head of our Civil Division, Tony West, to New Orleans to lead our efforts to protect not only the people who work and reside near the Gulf, but also the American taxpayers, the environment and the abundant wildlife in the region. They have been working diligently ever since to gather facts and coordinate the government’s legal response.

As we move forward, we will be guided by simple principles: We will ensure that every cent of taxpayer money will be repaid and damages to the environment and wildlife will be reimbursed. We will make certain that those responsible clean up the mess they have made and restore or replace the natural resources lost or injured in this tragedy. And we will prosecute to the full extent any violations of the law.

Among the many statutes Department attorneys are reviewing are:

The Clean Water Act, which carries civil penalties and fines as well as criminal penalties;
The Oil Pollution Act of 1990, which can be used to hold parties liable for cleanup costs and reimbursement for government efforts;
The Migratory Bird Treaty Act and Endangered Species Acts, which provide penalties for injury and death to wildlife and bird species; and,
Other traditional criminal statutes.
There are a wide range of possible violations under these statutes, and we will closely examine the actions of those involved in this spill. If we find evidence of illegal behavior, we will be forceful in our response. We have already instructed all relevant parties to preserve any documents that may shed light on the facts surrounding this disaster. "


(3) OIl has started to reach other States now as reported from Miami Herald reports from Alabama on the beaches there being reached. As of Tuesday afternoon St.Petersberg Times was reporting that the OIlspill was to reach the Panhandle by Wednesday or by Friday at the very latest.

As we watch the Oilspill growing and reaching towards Florida, we also see it reaching the shores of Alabama and Mississippi from CCN reports. The spill has grown to 31,000 square miles.
(4) June 1st is when all NOAA /USGS projection Maps are released. This Map shows Current Ocean Conditions in the Gulf of Mexico. Estimate of surface currents with the Deepwater Horizon location and spill accounted for. ( For people following and tracking the Hurricane Season this map is a must see) NOAA and other researchers are examining and overlaying the Oil Spill maps with Hurricane projection Maps, This NOAA map also shows new Spill Map.

(5) There are a variety of Researchers in the Gulf Studying the Underwater Plumes, Researchers track path/data of oil from rig spill. Much of the oil may in the form of vast underwater plumes. BP has been trying to allay concerns and say that the Spill is lessoned by the Dispersants at the Pressers, but the true concern is the amount of oil and with the addition of the dispersant what is going on below the surface.
Univ. of Georgia Marine Blogging Scientists Tracking 'Second Plume' in Gulf, and this blog has their research, their imagery and ongoing research and analysis. Really helpful blog.

(6) As the Spill grows, the BP new plan is to contain not stop the Flow, their website has more on that situation. By Tuesday evening 8pm the pipe had been altered( sawed) and the oil was coming out at much faster rate on the Gushercam. BP had warned that the increased flow could be 20% while they attempt this new Capping process. ( For those of us that are amateurs watching we are still confused why Barges, Tankers were never brought in to suck up the Flow or even surface oil ). The next 24 hours will determine the success of latest "strategy". Otherwise the Work on the Relief Well(s) goes on and will not be complete until August at the earliest.

(7) As of Tuesday Evening Mattingly of CNN reported that the Federal government will no longer do joint pressers with BP.Thad Allen of the Coast Guard will give updated briefings daily. ( It was unclear if all other Governmental divisions will as well.)

(8) Tonight Dr.Gupta will join CNN to discuss Health Risks associated with the Oil Spill and the Risks to Clean Up Workers and Residents. ( Dispersant issues hopefully will also be brought to light and needed Respiratory Precautions).
Dr. Ricki Ott Marine Biologist explains the Lessons from the Valdez Disaster:

(Enigma Note: Some who read my twitter page have seen my concerns about NOAA and other divisions, including Coast Gaurd being at the pressers to support BP, and also that BP uses NOAA data on their website.It also raises concerns as to is BP using our Governmental Agencies to support their efforts or even be dimissive of American Concerns ( regarding spill's spread and
health concerns. I stand by what I said, that NOAA and other agencies , even the Coast Guard should not be USED by BP. It in my mind brings up propaganda issues, or at least poorly staged PR stunts. If you scroll down especially to weekend posts there is plenty of video posted that raises those concerns.)

Tuesday, June 01, 2010


(NYT photo May29th)
June 1st Updates regarding Dispersant
Dr.Seth Forman speaks to Risks of Gulf related to Oil and Dispersant as it reaches beaches on MSNBC this morning June2nd.(H/t to @WhoDat35 for headsup on this video.)

Please do read First Dispersant Post Written covering May13th thru May30th, regarding Dispersant Questions. Since that time More Questions have arisen, and Clean Up Workers have gotten sick. That Question has basic information regarding COREXIT and original EPA tests and COREXIT ingredients. This earlier post also has BP's responses to concerns (video), their pronouncement that the Workers were sick from Heat and Food Poisoning, announced the same day as Worker Floating Camps were announced.
Today as more Clean Up Workers and also families in region come forth with Health Complaints, many are starting to ask Questions regarding the use of Dispersant COREXIT ( both forms). The Dispersant has not only been sprayed from low flying planes but also it is now being pumped to the Seabed by the Oil Leak in attempt to break up the Oil. ( This apparently started over the weekend and was reported on MSNBC and CNN , I will post BP announcement when I can find it.).

Local Media reported over weekend of Shrimpers,now are Clean Up workers that got sick over the weekend after low flying planes flew over spraying dispersant.

At the same time that people are coming forth with Health issues, BP is going ahead and planning to set up Floating Clean Up Worker Camps ( Floatels) and also Tent Cities ( using Trailers near the Marshes). It is unclear as to whether DHHS or OSHA or NIOSH has approved this plan. Immersing these workers with 12 hours shifts then having them live in quarters close to the Camps or on Boats on the Contaminated waters seems that it would pose exposure risks. After examining the OSHA and NIOSH manuals I am more confused as to whether OSHA has set up precautions for this Specific Dispersant or if it is being evaluated. Media ( CNN,NBC,ABC ) are all announcing that OSHA is now studying/examing the Health Complaints. OSHA does have an Oil Clean Up Worker Manual ( link below) and a Precaution Fact Sheet that addresses Oil and Hydrocarbon and Some Solvent Precautions.

The Clean Up Workers in photos, photo ops and footage on different media, have shown the workers wearing a variety of gear and gloves and hats. Yet the workers are not seen with protective respiratory masks, or respirators. Yet OSHA manuals and handouts do recommend respiratory protection if needed or if symptoms present. ( As a Nurse I am not sure of safety of waiting for Symptoms could be too late.). As posted below it was reported in Papers and CNN that Workers are not allowed to ask for respiratory masks and if they do they are harassed or threatened or even fired. That issue must be investigated and sooner than later to protect the workers. From reading different articles it is also concerning whether they really do have to work 12 hour shifts, do they have access to medical care and also fluids. From the photos I have seen also the Hazmat clothing raises questions, it appears they are given nice hats and some skin covering,but I did not see Masks or Heavy Gloves in the photos.

As of Sunday Night May 29th, it was announced that DHHS is going to post a Mobile Clinic to address Worker Safety Issues and Resident Health Complaints related to the Oilspill this announcement was made Day 41, and the Trailer arrived today June 1st. As the situation in the Gulf progresses it would seen that the DHHS might need to employ more Mobile Medical Units. Many of the Shrimper,Fishing families are without extra funds for medical bills at this time, and their complaints do need to be assessed.Rep.Melancon worked hard to get the Medical help that was so needed. ( This photo is from his visit to the van as it arrived today June1st).

*** Update from June 1st : NBC evening News Dr.Nancy Snyderman stated that OSHA was investigating Workers Health Concerns, the same evening ABC Chris Cuomo on Nightline reported on the Worker's Complaints and health concerns.I will post video of both when available. CNN has been reporting consistantly-video is on other post.***
Other Dispersant Issues related to the Gulf.
{1} If more than 750,000 gallons of the Dispersant have been deployed and sprayed over the water,EPA needs to be sure to be testing for it in the Water Column and the sediments by the Shorelines. From the Test results of May 4th in other dispersant post, EPA was not testing for Dispersant in water or sediments. Someone needs to make sure that they do, another concern is that the Water Column results were low on hydrocarbons and oil. which says that the Dispersant is actually possibly creating inaccurate results.

There have been Fish Kills on some of the Barrier Islands, Dauphin Island and even over to Waveland so see attached photos from NYT of massive fish kills from this past week.It would be helpful if EPA would make sure the Dead Fish and the Water Column were tested for the Dispersant Ingredients, from solvents, Kerosene, heavy metals to cyanide.Of the Dead Dolphins, Birds,Turtles that have been recovered, not all were oiled, it is critical that Some Agency test for the Dispersants.( In the beginning BP was to be called for animal pickup and rescues, and groups were Contracted to take care of the injured animals. It is Day 43 and it is unclear if All animals are being properly necropsied.

The Testing of the Food and Water is critical as the Dispersant at this point could be entering the Food Chain. NOAA has been monitoring the Oil Spill and expanding the Maps for No Fishing, which should help prevent anyone from eating or catching contaminated seafood. At this point it would be wise to test and check all species for the Oil and Dispersant Damage. Even with extensive reading, I am confused whether Federal Fish and Wildlife is testing or monitoring, I will update when I have more data.
Workers on Grand Ilse being given hats and other gear. No Masks given out ( also don't see sturdy gloves in photo).
Must Read Articles Regarding Worker Safety Issues.
{1} For anyone that has wondered if BP has a Safety problem or history of Violations this article by Jason Leopold for Truthout , "BP Accused of Violating Safety Regulations at US Refineries, Endangering Employees' Lives"(May4.2010) and is a must read as they do have a problem with Safety Violations that is worrisome, especially as the Government has been allowing them to manage the spill but also the Clean Up.Their OSHA track record is worrisome at best. As BP now plans "Worker Camps" it is time for someone to monitor them.
{2} Jay Rosen posted regarding the situation that BP made fishermen sign a contract banning them from speaking to media about what they saw on the job. That also raises questions as to whether that contract was a way or preventing the workers from speaking to Health Issues or Working Conditions. ( Especially after we have heard that workers were threatened for requesting Respiratory Masks.
{3} Thom Hartmand has a post on COREXIT that explains more regarding the Dispersant and is a Must Read.
Clean Up Workers Resources and Dispersant Information
{1} OSHA 's Oil Clean Up Manual
{2} NIEHS has partnered with OSHA re. Clean Up Workers
{3} OSHA Oil Precaution Sheet (helpful for Fumes,Oil)
{4} NEW DOCUMENT ::: COREXIT Dispersant CDC/NIOSH ( UPDATED May19,2010) does address Respiratory Issues/Respirator requirements,Precautions.
{5} Federal Law: 40CFR300 addresses
Marine oil spill response is organized and managed according to the regulations found in 40 CFR 300, the National Oil and Hazardous Substance Pollution Contingency Plan (NCP).
{6} Oil Pollution Act 1990 (does not fully address safety of Dispersant use for workers or ecosystem safety.
{6} NOAA's Dispersant guide (last updated 2007) (Does not address using such vast quanities in worker proximity.
{7} EPA website {timeline/statements} re: Dispersant
{8} NIOSH (w/CDC ) Respirator use/Respiratory Precautions re.chemical safety
{9} Technical document re: different forms of COREXIT

Gulf Oil Disaster : Day 43 Monday June1st (Clean Up Worker Issues: Dispersant Exposure,BP's Planned Clean Up Camps)

"When one tugs at a single thing in nature,he finds it attached to rest of the world."~John Muir
We all are connected to this Event in the Gulf, as it unfolds I encourage that there is much Media /blog coverage worth seeing : Think Progress, @TheOilDrum, @GOHSEP, @IRBBC,Truthout, LA TImes, and NYT,Mother Jones,Miami Herald, The Guardian and Huffington Post.
As of today after a long weekend, BP is pursuing their new Capping Method, LMRP , which will possibly raise the amount of oil coming from the broken rise by as much as 20%. The Robotic work continues and the spill continues. Yesterday Scientists latest data is that at conservative estimates, 12,000 -19,000 barrels/day, which translates to more than 510,000 gallons a day, atleast. Over the weekend Carol Browner came on Meet The Press and called this our Worst Environmental Disaster ever. But the issue that makes it so much more stressful is that disaster is not over, it is ongoing, on growing.

Over Memorial Day Weekend the reality of watching this gusher livecam all summer hit alot of folks hard, especially the Gulf residents. Many are devastated, and we need to have compassion for what they are facing and recognize they are looking at a grim summer, but also dire situation. I heard people on Blogs and on Twitter saying " well it is not an Apocalypse". It does not matter what those of us in other states feel, it is their Reality we have to comprehend.These are strong people, but these are also people that have been abandoned before. Katrina has left deep scars and many are still recovering from that wretched year. Others who live there have even voiced concern that Katrina PTSD is a real concern.
Sadly if anyone says that this is not a Crisis, please do share these photos with them, NYT posted these nine photos over the weekend. The ones that are disturbing are especially slides 6 and 7 that show the FishKills in Waveland Mississippi of massive amounts of fish on the beaches. I have seen Fishkills in the Northwest, and I have never seen photos like this before. If we look at those photos and think of the impact of this disaster on the FoodChain it is staggering and can not be diminished by BP. Just for reference I did also check NOAA Fishing zones, and that area has already been closed off. On another note as the Oil Slick grows, and is over 29,000 Sq.Miles now, it is hard for some to fathom, a wonderful artists named Andy came up with the Map that is mobile, allowing any of us to visualize the Slick in our own Region , Our Home, just go to the Beowulfe site and type in your address or City and see the full impact of the Spill. People around the world are now using this tool to see how big it really is.@Unclo ( or Larry ) of Twitter deserves so much credit for educating so many with this tool.
I had mentioned in earlier posts that the we need more Science and Marine Scientists there studying this situation. The Costeau family is there doing dives, studying the water and filming. This Video was by JM Costeau and posted to twitter and is a Must See, so do click this link.( Ocean Futures Society is their family organization if you want to support their work). The Costeaus are exploring the damage to the ecosystem and the marine life caused by the oil and dispersants in the water column. They too are worred about the plumes causing damage and lowered oxygen levels, and the effects on the food chain.
@GOHSEP -The Governor's Office of Louisiana issues daily reports on Spill Sitings but also of the expanded NOAA maps. This is Link to May 31 Report on new Oil Spill sightings throughout coastal Louisiana. NOAA and GOHSEP have done an amazing job tracking all of the oil and fishing zones and GOHSEP has been an amazing source of all information related to Louisiana.
For anyone that has not understood the importance of the Maps that NOAA and GOHSEP are issuing. We need to remember that many that fish and Shrimp and maintain the oyster beds are effected by these closures. They face uncertain futures at this point. I have attached this amazing Article here that explains the Shrimping Industry and History of the Gulf. This is a Culture, a way of life, but families that fish and shrimp in region have carried on for generations. So far BP has been more than stingy with what and how they are paying for the damage to the region. To see how contorted this situation is this weekend the LA Times did a post on a Fisherman who tried to file his claim with BP and it is disturbing and raises questions as to how the Fishing men will be reimbursed. More than 40% of All shrimp and fish for North America comes from this fragile region, and that means also thousands of jobs are at stake. As these men face loss of work, it makes sense that they also will pursue working on the BP Clean Up Crews, but this can not be looked at as viable long term work or replacement of their current or past income.
Health Information : This weekend on Day 42 finally Federal Government,
DHHS did bring forth the first Mobile Unit to assist and meet the Medical Needs of this situation. As Clean Up workers in the Region have been experiencing symptoms and some have been hospitalized, it was time to set up a system to care for them and the residents, hopefully this is the first step. Do click the link to learn more, especially if you live near Venice. ( Please also do see posts below regarding Dispersant and also regarding the Sick workers that BP has tried to blame their illnesses on Heat and also foodpoisoning.)

This Weekend is when Tony Hayward spoke about the Illnesses of the workers and tried to blame it on "Food Poisoning" . It was filmed and CNN posted the video, and it remarkable and worrisome.
LA TIMES has an article up last night regarding Suttles and Haywards plan of "Floating Clean Up Camps" and "Tent Cities", (see post below) it turns out that the Plan is NOW to use Trailers that look like Semi Containers? or Box Cars. They contain bunk beds. and some bathing facilities, although these workers will need FULL Showers if they are working near or around chemicals and oil. Also it is unclear from this article if OSHA has approved this plan as it means the Workers will be working 12 hour shifts and then sleeping in the Contaminated zones which does present Safety issues.
Post from the Weekend with Suttles explaining the BP plan for Floating Worker Camps and "Tent Cities". (We now know Trailers were also part of the plan).
Shrimpers working as Cleanup Workers got sick after Corexit sprayed by low flying planes overhead, this was reported by local Media , but not by MSM. Dr.Gupta will be doing special on CNN Tuesday Night on this Dispersant and it's possible relationship to Workers complaints and hospitalizations. Nine -12 have been hospitalized so far. Wives of the workers are reporting to media worried about their husbands, who are feeling intimidated or harassed to not report problems for fear of loss of work.This just became an issue over weekend, we will see if it improves. BP's Worker Camps we can hope that OSHA makes them set up Medical Care as well.
As a nurse I have concerns for the Workers and residents there regarding the Exposure to the Dispersant COREXIT in such huge volumes, now being pumped in at well site, entering directly to the Water Column.This post I wrote earlier in the Month is regarding this Compound being used. OSHA has issued Precaution fact sheet for workers and residents regarding the Oil, but there is no monitoring or precautions issued regarding the COREXIT.EPA had told BP to cease using it, but for some reason BP is still using it, and now putting it directly at wellsite. The Literature has not information on that usage, it did have information on diluted spray form on limited small spills , early on after a spill. I have tried to write to OSHA, EPA and CDC regarding this chemical and have gotten no response. EPA and OSHA also were not present at the weekend pressers where the Work Camps were discussed by BP.
Another source of discussion that has been ongoing on the Internet and Twitter is the Hurricane concern. I continue to encourage people to check Weather Underground for updates. Scientists and Weather experts are worried as NOAA has predicted up to 23 Storms, with 14 Hurricanes. Please do click this link to learn more. And to answer anyone's questions, the Hurricane with the Oil Slick poses huge risks due to the Surge issue. Another aspect of this is BP plans to set up Flotillas , Floating Clean Up Camps, which also raises questions about their safety in Hurricanes.(please see posts below regarding floating camps).
The Guardian has this excellent post from the weekend exploring Scientists concerns regarding the giant Plumes forming under the sea from the Oil, and the ongoing battle with BP regarding the Damage. BP has continued to argue with Scientists regarding assessing ecological damage , but also the ongoing amounts of oil as well.
Enigma Note: I am still reporting information what I find from the Internet and Twitter and reports from the region. I do raise questions of concern. I think all of us should question what is going on there, but also be trying to employ critical thinking and problem solve. Problemsolving can be done with compassion and vision. To help the Gulf we will need to be creative and supportive.I am not an engineer or a oil person, but I post what I can so we can all learn more. I after all these days will only be checking Gushercam sporadically. Most of my focus will be on Gulf Residents Health ,Wellbeing and also the Clean Up Workers. I will continue to post Science related to the situation from a variety of sources. This blog will continue to document the damage to the region, and chronicle this Disaster, which is what it is, Our Greatest Environmental Ecological Disaster. My main focus, as always for this blog is the Humanitarian Aspect of this Crisis. If you live in the Gulf and want to be interviewed regarding your concerns, I would be happy to post your story or photos here as well.
More Updates Later today......

*** As I continue doing research on COREXIT and dispersants, I learned of a National Academy of Sciences Study of Dispersants in 2005 that supposedly is very illuminating, if anyone has the link I would be grateful.