Increasing numbers of U.S. Gulf Coast residents attribute ongoing sicknesses to BP’s oil disaster and use of toxic dispersants.
“Now I have a bruising rash all around my stomach,” Denise Rednour of Long Beach, Mississippi told IPS. “This looks like bleeding under the skin.”
Rednour lives near the coast and has been walking on the beach nearly every day since a BP oil rig exploded on Apr. 20. She has noticed a dramatically lower number of wildlife, and said that many days the smell of chemicals from what she believes are BP’s toxic dispersants fill the air.
Yet her primary concern is that she and many people she knows in the area have gotten sick.
“I have pain in my stomach, stabbing pains, in isolated areas,” Rednour added. “The sharp stabbing pain is all over my abdomen where this discolouration is, it’s in my arm pits and around my breasts. I have this dry hacking cough, my sinuses are swelling up, and I have an insatiable thirst.”
Rednour’s recent problems are a continuation of others that have beset her for months, including headaches, respiratory problems, runny nose, nausea, and bleeding from the ears.
In response to the massive spill last summer that released at least 4.9 million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, BP admitted to using at least 1.9 million gallons of Corexit dispersants – which have been banned in 19 countries – to sink the oil. The dispersants contain chemicals that many scientists and toxicologists have warned are dangerous to humans, marine life and wildlife.