The Gulf of Mexico oil spill will bring clean-up workers and volunteers into contact with hazardous materials that can affect human health. A review of the health impacts of five recent oil spills shows an assortment of symptoms including respiratory problems, dermatitis, headaches, throat irritation, DNA damage and depression.
Scientific studies on the health impacts of oil spills on residents, volunteers and workers were conducted following the Exxon Valdez spill of 1989, the Braer spill of 1993, the Sea Empress spill of 1996, the Erika oil spill of 1999 and the Prestige spill of 2002.
These studies show that people who live or work in these conditions are at risk for a variety of physical and mental health problems
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Continue reading The Daily Green: The Health Effects of Oil Spills
BP’s Chief Operating Officer, Mr. Suttles, said that BP is pursuing multiple options simultaneously in an attempt to fix the oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico. After their failed attempt to contain the leak using a large dome, they are moving ahead with other possible solutions.
BP realized Saturday that the large dome failed to cap the leak when methane hydrate crystals clogged the opening of the dome, making it buoyant. The buoyancy risked shifting the dome out of place.
One of the possible solutions in place of the large dome includes putting a smaller dome over the leak and shooting debris into the hole to try to plug it, called a “junk shot”. BP is also contemplating putting a blowout preventer, a piece of equipment that fastens shut over a leak, on top of one that is currently broken.
BP is also working on rerouting the flow to another pipe by drilling a relief well. Work on the relief well began a week ago. BP will have to drill 4,000 feet into the sea floor to the well. Although it could take 75-80 day to complete, Mr. Suttles said that they are making very good progress.
BP is pursuing so many potential fixes because they don’t know if any of them will come through. Mr. Suttles told CNN, “What we’ve been doing is pushing parallel paths because we don’t know which one’s going to work.”
With an estimated 3.9 million gallons spilled since the explosion and 210,000 gallons spilling every day, the pressure to contain the spill only grows.
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Continue reading CNN: Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill: BP Pursuing Multiple Uncertain Fixes