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US Gov & Media Ignore Gulf Coast Syndrome

A year after the BP disaster, some Southerners say they’re coming down with mysterious and frightening illnesses

By Alex Woodward
New Orleans Gambit
April 19, 2011

“This is the best-hidden secret perhaps in the history of our nation.”

Dr. Mike Robichaux speaks into a microphone while standing on a truck bed in the shade of a massive tree in his yard in Raceland, La. He’s wearing a blue polo shirt and jeans, and his white-gray hair is parted neatly. The former state senator, known affectionately as Dr. Mike, is an ear, nose and throat specialist in Lafourche Parish and self-described “too easygoing of a guy.” But today, he’s pissed.

“Nobody is fussing about this,” he says.

Robichaux invited his patients and dozens of others to speak about their situations. Outside of neighborhood papers with names like the Houma Courier, the Daily Comet and Tri-Parish Times, their stories exist solely on blogs and Facebook — unless you visit Al Jazeera English, or sources in Germany, Belgium and elsewhere in Europe.

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BP’s spilled oil is washing up in people

By Sue Sturgis
The Institute For Southern Studies

Today marks nine months since the BP Deepwater Horizon offshore oil rig exploded, killing 11 workers and sending millions of gallons of crude oil pouring into the Gulf of Mexico. Though the gushing well was capped last July, oil continues to wash ashore along the Gulf Coast. BP’s oil is also washing up in people’s bodies, raising concerns about long-term health effects.

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JAMA: Health Effects of the Gulf Oil Spill

By Gina M. Solomon and Sarah Janssen
Journal of the American Medical Assn.
16 Aug 2010 doi:10.1001/jama.2010.1254

The oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico poses direct threats to human health from inhalation or dermal contact with the oil and dispersant chemicals, and indirect threats to seafood safety and mental health. Physicians should be familiar with health effects from oil spills to appropriately advise, diagnose, and treat patients who live and work along the Gulf Coast or wherever a major oil spill occurs.

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