New Orleans, La. – Anne Rolfes of the Louisiana Bucket Brigade says 954 coastal residents were surveyed from July to October. She says nearly half of the people who believed they were exposed to crude oil or dispersants got sick.
The National Institutes of Health is launching a study of 55-thousand clean-up workers. But Rolfes says more needs to be done to help the sick.
"That is really a wonderful study. It's important. But it's just studying them and we need to treat people."
One of the people reporting problems including a persistent cough is Betty Dowd, a 14-year resident of Grand Isle.
"They have no plan whatsoever for our health, the people's health. And that's what I'm trying to do - to get people together and try to find funding to have these people tested because then that's going to be the solid proof that we're being poisoned."
Rolfes says the federal and state governments need to act quickly.
"We don't want to be here in 2015 or 2020 and look back and say, Gosh. There's this Gulf Coast illness going around.' "
The surveys done in Plaquemines, St. Bernard, Terrebone and Jefferson parishes show 64 percent remain concerned about seafood contamination. Dowd says she continues walking the Grand Isle beach every day, taking pictures of tar balls and other oil spill residue washing ashore, along with dead birds and animals.
For WWNO, I'm Eileen Fleming