An ongoing concern with the BP Gulf oil spill disaster is the health of the workers involved in the cleanup. With these cleanup crews, and independent volunteers coming in direct contact with the aftermath early on in the cleanup process, the long-term effects of exposure are unknown.

Fox News reports that only 2 months into the cleanup efforts more than 400 cases of exposure complaints have been recorded by the American Association of Poison Control Centers. In Louisiana alone, more than 100 oil spill-related cases were reported, 74 of them from workers hired by BP.

Early symptoms from exposure include nausea, dizziness, severe headaches, skin irritation and difficulty breathing, all indications of chemical exposure. The exposure to the contaminants isn't the only danger facing workers - heat index at cleanup sites can reach well over 100 degrees and heat exhaustion is another growing concern.

New measures to screen and train workers prior to cleanup duties have been implemented to try and limit the health impact on those involved. However, because the U.S. has not previously faced an oil disaster this massive, there is still concern about the long-term health risks that may not manifest for several years.

In the last 50 years, at least 400 smaller oil spills have occurred around the world, but only 7 seriously studied for long-term impact on both environment and nearby life. This lack of information to work with is spurring on health surveillance organizations in the Gulf States to properly document the current disaster.

One of the most ambitious programs implemented by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health is the tracking of nearly 15,000 of the 35,000 oil spill response workers. These workers volunteered to be part of a long-term health tracking system that is hopeful in providing analysis and support of those directly in contact with cleanup efforts and exposure.

Unfortunately, one of the potential risks these health concerns bring is the misdiagnosis of future complications from the oil spill exposure. Fears that 20 years from now, doctors will neglect to connect patient health issues to the Gulf oil disaster may cause a rise in medical malpractice claims.

Ben Glass Law provides updates on current news stories regarding liability caps and medical malpractice as a service to our clients. We are active with Virginia medical malpractice liability cap cases and have been long involved in reforming their negative impact on deserving victims who have been shortchanged by their limitations. For help with your medical malpractice claims, contact us today - 703-591-9829.

Ben Glass
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Ben Glass is a nationally recognized Virginia injury, medical malpractice, and long-term disability attorney
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