New Orleans, La. – Wilma Subra of the Louisiana Environmental Action Network says people along the Gulf Coast are showing signs of illnesses she says can be linked to exposure to the BP spill, and the chemical dispersant used to break up the oil. She heard several stories of sicknesses from people attending a weekend meeting in an Uptown New Orleans church.
"Every day I get phone calls. Every single day, from all along the Coast, not just Louisiana. And there are so few doctors that will deal with it, and then the ones that do, charge. And most of these people, they're out of work. They don't have insurance, and they have nowhere to turn."
Subra says even those who aren't working on the clean-up, or don't live near the coast are showing signs of chemical exposure. Symptom include skin problems, nausea and headaches. She says long-term problems could develop internally, but there's no system set up to track the overall health effects.
"The greatest need is for the health agencies at the state level and the federal level - but mostly at the state level - to provide the medical expertise that's needed to deal with the medical conditions that have occurred as a result of the BP spill."
The president's National Oil Spill Commission recommends the Environmental Protection Agency be responsible for keeping track of health effects linked to oil spills.
For WWNO, I'm Eileen Fleming