A study published in the PLOS One online journal says Corexit 9600, the dispersant most often used during the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill, might cause damage to cells in human lungs and in the gills of fish and crabs.
About 48,000 workers participating in the cleanup in the Gulf and along the shores of the five Gulf Coast states where oil went ashore.
The Times-Picayune interviewed Dr. Veena Antony, a professor of medicine, engineering and environmental health sciences at University of Alabama at Birmingham and a co-author of the report. Antony said there a number of clean-up workers were seen in emergency rooms along the Gulf Coast with respiratory complaints, including asthma-like conditions during the time the oil was being removed from the Gulf.
“Cough, shortness of breath and sputum production were among symptoms expressed by workers,” Antony said in a news release announcing the paper.
BP spokesman disputed the report saying that samplings conducted by BP and federal agencies during the cleanup that found cleanup workers and the public weren’t exposed to airborne concentrations of dispersants “at levels that would be expected to result in any significant adverse health effects.”