Public Service ANNOUNCEMENT:
Valdez Oil Spill and You
A Special Project to Help Sick
WHAT is going on?
The Alaska Community Action on Toxics (ACAT)
and the Alaska Forum for Environmental Responsibility (AFER)
have teamed up to examine the health effects
of the Exxon Valdez oil spill cleanup on workers.
The Exxon Valdez oil spill was a hazardous waste cleanup,
and the federal government should have required Exxon
to do long-term health monitoring of all the workers.
However, court records show that
Exxon never reported any of the more than 6700 cases of respiratory illnesses
to federal and state oversight agencies,
so no long-term monitoring program was implemented.
During the cleanup, many workers reported respiratory problems
(cough, flu-like symptoms, bronchitis, headaches, etc.) to Veco and Exxon.
These respiratory illnesses were treated as colds or flu,
however, these symptoms are virtually identical to those from chemical poisoning
due to, for example,
inhalation of the seawater-oil mist created by the high pressure, hot water wash.
ACAT and AFER found
that crude oil, diesel exhaust, bioremediation products such as Inipol EAP 22,
and even cleaning products used during the cleanup
all can cause severe short- and long-term health problems.
Researchers realized there was a potentially huge problem
after they reviewed court cases filed by sick workers in the early 1990s
and interviewed former cleanup workers in fall 2001.
Many of the short- and long-term health symptoms described by workers matched
those described in the literature for chemicals present during the cleanup.
WHO is doing the work and WHY? ACAT
and AFER are 501(c)3 nonprofit organizations in Alaska. ACAT promotes
environmental justice and the publicís right to know: it works with
individuals and in communities seeking assistance because of health concerns
related to toxic contamination (www.akaction.net). AFER focuses on holding the
North Slope oil industry and government regulators accountable to laws that
protect the environment and worker safety (www.alaskaforum.org). Pam Miller (ACAT)
and Riki Ott (AFER) are co-leaders for this special project. The goal of the Exxon
Valdez Oil Spill (EVOS) Worker Health Project is to find and help
people who worked on the EVOS cleanup and who may be sick now from exposure to
toxic chemicals present during the cleanup.
are we going to do this?
1) W e are working with various doctors who specialize in chemical poisoning to
establish diagnostic tests specific to crude oil and other chemicals
present during the cleanup; and to determine proper treatment.
2) We are working with various lawyers who specialize in chronic
poisoning and toxic tort law to pursue legal action.
3) We are working with key policy-makers to change cleanup laws to
adequately protect future oil spill cleanup workers; and, possibly, to investigate
what happened during the EVOS cleanup.
e are working with various doctors who specialize in chemical poisoning to establish diagnostic tests specific to crude oil and other chemicals present during the cleanup; and to determine proper treatment. 2) We are working with various lawyers who specialize in chronic poisoning and toxic tort law to pursue legal action. 3) We are working with key policy-makers to change cleanup laws to adequately protect future oil spill cleanup workers; and, possibly, to investigate what happened during the EVOS cleanup.
HOW can you help? We hope to find as many cleanup workers as possible, whether sick or not. We are also interested in interviewing family members of workers who are deceased. If you were, or someone you know was, a cleanup worker, then please contact your Community Liaison or our special project staff Christina Cinelli. We need current addresses and contact information. We also need you to fill out a Worker Contact Info & Health Form, which we can mail to you. By May we will contact you about community visits and further information.
Pam Miller with Alaska
ALL INFORMATION, DATA, AND MATERIAL CONTAINED, PRESENTED, OR PROVIDED HERE VIA INTERNET COMMUNICATION IS FOR GENERAL INFORMATION PURPOSES ONLY AND IS NOT TO BE CONSTRUED OR INTENDED AS PROVIDING MEDICAL OR LEGAL ADVICE.