Has dangers you may not suspect – On May 17, in Venice, Louisiana, fishermen and local residents called a press conference to complain about fumes that are sickening them when the wind is blowing off Gulf of Mexico waters polluted by the British Petroleum oil spill. Oil washing ashore and the chemicals used in the clean up may pose a health risk for those who have respiratory diseases. Local residents are already complaining about symptoms, including headaches, nosebleeds, asthma attacks, cough, nausea, and vomiting, and those who had been out on the water said the situation was worse there. Can science solve this problem before it’s too late?

So far, British Petroleum is refusing to release any information about air quality over the floating oil itself, and claims that air quality on the coast is healthy. But others are not so sure, and there is building concern that people might be poisoned by benzene and other volatile chemicals being released by the oil. So far, the evidence is unclear, but this is certainly not impossible, especially if currents bring the oil closer to shore, or winds blow gasses being emitted by the slicks onshore.

Contrary to internet rumors, there is no evidence that FEMA is at present planning any mass evacuations in the area, but something like this could become necessary if gasses from this massive spill do prove to be a problem.

It is urgent that credible independent scientists do as senior National Resources Defense Council scientist Gina Solomon has attempted and test the air as soon as possible, and keep testing it. It must be assumed that British Petroleum will continue its policy of not releasing air quality reports about the spill area. Meanwhile, allergist Jonathan Bernstein says, “Since the spill is now coming ashore, adults and children with respiratory diseases need to keep a close eye on their breathing, stay inside and call their allergist if they feel ill. The oil-dispersing chemicals could also be harmful since we don’t know what they are or if they have a strong odor that may trigger symptoms.”

As Jim Marrs says, It’s all about oil. Come talk to Jim in person at this year’s Dreamland Festival!

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