Yeah. I’m sure it’s the stress causing this:
Stress combined with heat and exposure to chemicals could be among the factors that sent seven Gulf fishermen who were helping with oil cleanup to the hospital Wednesday, experts say.
“The work is likely not your traditional eight hours’ work,” said Matthew Nonnenmann, an assistant professor in occupational and environmental health science at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Tyler. “They’re out there trying to contain the oil and protect homes and livelihood. It’s not a typical scenario.”
The cleanup workers’ complaints of dizziness, nausea and headaches prompted authorities to pull all vessels off the water Wednesday.
Seven people were admitted into a Louisiana hospital after complaining of severe headaches. All remained hospitalized Thursday afternoon.
“It’s difficult with things like that to know what exactly is the cause,” said Dr. LuAnn White, professor and director of the Tulane Center for Applied Environmental Public Health in New Orleans, Louisiana.
It’s possible to become sickened if volatile compounds still remain in the oil, she said. If a worker has direct contact with concentrated dispersants — chemicals intended to break up the oil — before they’re mixed into the water, that could affect their health.
Mother Jones, two weeks ago:
The exact makeup of the dispersants is kept secret under competitive trade laws, but a worker safety sheet for one product, called Corexit, says it includes 2-butoxyethanol, a compound associated with headaches, vomiting and reproductive problems at high doses.
How’s about we hold off on the anti-anxiety meds until we STOP DUMPING THE DISPERSANTS.
I’d kinda like to hear from medical experts from places without a significant oil drilling industry presence.
I don’t know. If I learned that the work I had been likely very glad to get was fucking up my health, and might compromise my reproductive potential — I might want some anti-anxiety meds.
STOP DUMPING THE DISPERSANTS + prescriptions for all.
Sheesh. Those poor folks!
The fact that the recipe for that dispersant is still a “trade secret” is fucking sickening. It’s all over the Gulf, it’s fucking criminal not to tell people what you’re putting gallon after gallon of into the water.
Well, Katrina was a “great opportunity” for private enterprise, already. And now, it’s the pharma companies’ turn.
@ellaesther: Double down on what you said. Hand over the meds and STOP DUMPING THE DISPERSANT. If we keep typing it in caps, maybe they will actually listen?
@Jon H: And yes on this, too. Vested interest, what?
The thing that gets me is how the obvious answer (dispersant being toxic) is so arduously sidestepped and only being acknowledged as ‘possible’. Are we living in bizarro world?
John Cole is shrill. And a DFH. Also.
As with the “fracking” compounds they’re using all over the country, they hide behind the veil of corporate secrecy in order to keep us uninformed as to what’s in this stuff. Here’s what you get to know:
There otta be a law.
it’s totally consistent with oil fumes. that stuff is bad enough on its own.
the dispersant use means there is less oil vapor in the atmosphere (and more oil killing fish below).
Kind of a grisly choice — except if you are BP and hoping the undersea destruction is less photogenic.
Someone has probably already said this, but I hope no one reading this board ever, ever spends another penny at BP. Not one single god damned cent ever again.
Question for bio/med types: how hard is it to detect a substance like 2-butoxylwhatever in a blood sample? Is it something any hospital lab can do or is the expertise and equipment very limited?
@trollhattan: Um, before you wad your panties any tighter, you want to know what organic sulfonic acid salts are? They’re FUCKING DETERGENTS!!! You know, the sort of shit you shovel into your washing machine on a weekly basis? The proprietary disclaimer in this case consists either of the alkyl chain length or the counter-ion used (possibly both). Basically, the longer the chain length, the less water soluble (and more organic soluble) the detergent is. Sodium dodecyl sulfate (12 carbon chain, commonly known as SDS or sodium lauryl sulfate) is the most commonly used household detergent, as an example.
And for what it’s worth, there are several versions of Corexit. The MSDS segment that trollhattan quoted is for Corexit 9500.. It appears more likely that Corexit EC9527 is the dispersant at issue in this incident. If we’re going for completeness here, this is the MSDS of key component everyone is howling over: 2-butoxyethanol . Not the nicest compound out there by any stretch, and frankly the detergent based dispersants would like be a safer choice, but there you have it. However, the use of dispersants is not a bad idea, and is frankly the lesser of two evils in this case.
@PeakVT: Reasonably reliable detection of 2-butoxyethanol (or its metabolites) is probably beyond the average hospital, as it requires gas chromatography analysis. An easy enough test if you have the equipment, but I don’t know how many hospitals (outside of teaching institutions) have GCs or GCMSs at their beckon call.
“The work is likely not your traditional eight hours’ work,” said Matthew Nonnenmann, an assistant professor
Since when do fishermen do your traditional eight hours per day?
@Gravenstone: The difference being you don’t get in the washing machine with the detergent, nor do you pour the shit all around your house and then go about your day in the detergent fumes.
@asiangrrlMN: I’ve been yelling about so much for so many years, I can’t keep track of all my success! I’m sure the CAPS will work.
This sounds like a job for Christie Todd Whitman.
But really, there are universities and medical centers all over the damn place that would jump at the chance to send teams down there to monitor, gather information, recommend immediately needed safety measures, track and tend to the health of the workers, etc. I mean, it doesn’t have to be framed as a punitive sort of mission. This is science, so let’s not send Christie Todd Whitman or Brownie or Monsanto or whatever, let’s send our smartest edumacation types, and let’s send the bill to BP.
We’re never going to not need chemicals and dispersants, so let’s gather the information in its present horrible raw state and analyze it and use it and maybe, you know, make things better.
Aaron S. Veenstra
Technically this is true, in the same way that evil spirits combined with childhood trauma and exposure to chemicals could be among the responsible factors.
@trollhattan: there probably is. Don’t know what the situation in the US is, but where I live employers etc are legally required to provide access to MSDS sheets that include the chemical composition of the materials they come in contact with. They are also required to provide appropriate PPE/PPC. Can’t imagine the situation is much different in the US.
I’d like to think that somebody was testing the people who reported sickness for organic chemicals that might be present, but…
@Gravenstone: I meant to thank you, not myself.
ETA: Of course, this time around the edit link shows up. FYWP.
My barber recommends rubbing a cream of 35% 2-butoxyethanol into the scalp just behind the ears – every other day.
Way to miss the point, Skippy. If they were planning to inject/spray hudreds of thousands of gallons of Liquid Cascade into the water column and onto the surface they still need to know precisely what is in it and what byproducts it creates interacting with the crude oil and the seawater itself. Kinda sorta knowing what the active ingredient is, isn’t sufficient from an environmental and human health risk assessment standpoint.
“Brawndo: it’s got the electrolytes plants crave.”
FWIW I think folks are being sickened inhaling hydrocarbon vapors from the spill itself rather than from the dispersant. There’s orders of magnitude more oil to be exposed to.
@trollhattan: Did it never occur to you that the people who created these formulations might have a fair idea of how they might interact with crude oil and open water systems? I mean, it’s not like that’s the type of fucking system they were made to be used in or anything. Or is that level of thought too much to ask for your wee little brain, Skippy?
@Oscar Leroy: How do you propose doing that?
The oil BP is pumping (BPs most profitable business) is sold on the open market to be refined. The refiner (BPs next most profitable business) buys the crude on the open market, and sells the gasoline on the open market. The retailer (BPs least profitable business) buys their gasoline on the open market and sells it to you.
You’re just as likely to get BP drilled and/or refined gas at Chevron or Costco as you are at a BP station. Cutting of sales to BP stations will hurt them a little, but as they’re usually independently owned, it’s a VERY little.
Bottom line, there’s no possible way a consumer can avoid BP unless they avoid petroleum. Skip the BP retailer because it’ll make you feel better and dump your energy into spamming the shit out of Congress to run those fuckers off US land.
Herbal Infusion Bagger
“Organic sulfonic acid salt Proprietary 10.0 – 30.0%”
Like Gravenstone said, this is a detergent. You use organosulfonic acid salts to wash your clothes, laundry, and in the cheaper shampoos.
As for the spill workers symptoms, those are typical CNS effects from the lighter hydrocarbons. The 2-butoxyethanol is more water soluble (that’s the point) and would be less volatile than the lighter hydrocarbons in the crude. The workers probably got a bigger hit from the more volatile components of the crude rather than from the dispersants.
The dispersants would make the problem better (by breaking up the oil into smaller particles so that the bacteria that will degrade the oil can chew on it faster. It’s the lesser of two evils.
If they don’t dump dispersants, everyone sitting around yelling “you’ve got to *do* something” will have aneurysms and die.
Gulf War Syndrome…to Gulf Oil Syndrome…Big Oil hates Americans.
@Martin: fwiw, Louisianians have been trying to kick BP to the curb for all their safety infractions.