We appreciate whatever industry can bring to this state, but none of them have the right to come here and harm our people and environment. You might give jobs but you don’t have the right to kill our people. Without having a board of Occupational Medical Physicians managing the relationship between patients and primary care physicians, time has turned the exposed population into Disappearing Victims as they die off never connecting the dots to BP up to 10 years later, or become chronically sick disabling them from leaving home.
1. ESTABLISH A BOARD OF OCCUPATIONAL & ENVIRONMENT MEDICAL PHYSICIANS
Take Louisiana Senate Resolution 16 a step further. It passed in 2018 and dictated that BP should establish medical monitoring and screening and should produce a medical protocol advisory -yet the victims and the medical profession remains uninformed. To prevent a failure repeat, we must establish a board of Occupational & Environmental Medical Physicians to create a health management plan to be activated for the next toxic disaster, and to be available for reference to the citizens of Louisiana.
2. Give citizens control over their own health
Establish a Frank Stuart Citizens Advisory Council – This groups should would be the interface between the OEMP board and the public. It should be influenced by the people with the most to lose in an oil spill and follow a protocol per the presidential commission to effectively manage the next oil spill in the interest of public health.
President Obama created a National Commission to extensively investigate the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill disaster to make recommendations. It resulted in a 379 page fully accountable recommendation report on January 2011.
On page 212
Referencing the Mabus Report, also a presidential commission, which addresses the chronic Gulf marine and coastal issues, “Finally, no authority will succeed without the confidence and support of the citizens of the region. Leaders of restoration efforts emphasize the importance of gaining the support of those most directly affected by restoration projects. Local citizen support is important for several reasons: it can reduce delay of projects due to litigation or other opposition; it contributes to political support for overall goals and funding, in the short and long term; and it contributes to overall trust in government, which results in support for local projects. Any structure should therefore include a citizens’ advisory council to provide formal advice and a direct line to citizens’ concerns.”
This resulted in the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council. No citizens’ advisory council to provide formal advice and a direct line to citizens’ concerns was ever formed.
On page 268
Federal responders improved their relationship with state and local officials as the response progressed—but had better coordination and communication existed sooner, that relationship could have been more productive in the early days of the spill response. Moreover, increased citizen involvement before a spill occurs could create better mechanisms to utilize local citizens in response efforts, provide an additional layer of review to prevent industry and government complacency, and increase public trust in response operations.
On page 194
“The long-term health impacts of oil spills remain largely uncertain”. “Because no biological specimens were taken at the outset of the response, the study of future health effects will be constrained by a lack of baseline data. No biological samples were taken from cleanup workers before or immediately after their exposure to oil. More generally, given the unreliability of surveillance in the days and weeks after the spill, the quality of any baseline data for studies on long-term health effects was compromised.” “However, the focus on long-term research cannot overshadow the need to provide immediate medical assistance to affected communities, which have suffered from limited access to healthcare services.”
The Gulf Study
The GuLF STUDY was launched to monitor the health of a control group of participants who worked on the spill. The findings from the study may influence long-term public health responses in Gulf communities or responses to other oil spills in the future.
Funded by the feds, it is the largest study ever conducted on the potential health effects associated with an oil spill to examine how different aspects of oil-spill response and clean-up may affect current and future health.
- One factor they are relying on is the analysis of death certificates to determine suicides and deaths related to the exposure. The accuracy of the death certificates causes Disappearing Victims concern because the Louisiana Department of Health states that only 40% of the cause of death are accurate. There are so many cascading affects due to chemical exposure, which illness was chosen that killed the victim?
- We were also concerned with the method of interviewing clean-up workers which is through telephone survey and medical visits. Many victims reported to us their distrust of the GuLF Study because they believed that BP was behind it. One victim reported she would not let them in because she figured they would say mold or some other thing in the household caused the multiple myeloma that her husband got years after he rescued workers from the Gulf immediately after the spill. Wouldn’t it be better to gain the public’s trust in a more effective manner?
Albeit a Community Advisory Group was formed, it was merely to provide advice on recruitment, study implementation, retention, and outreach efforts. No citizens’ advisory council to provide formal advice and a direct line to citizens’ concerns was ever formed. They also turned down our invitation to meet with the citizens directly in our town hall meetings.
- BP committed $500 million to establish the GoMRI to investigate the impacts of the oil, dispersed oil, and dispersant on the ecosystems to understand the dynamics of such events and the associated environmental stresses and public health implications. They funded 331 institutions with established scientific teams, with 28 in Louisiana. The GOMRI board includes 10 scientists appointed by BP and two each appointed by governors of five affected states. Finally, findings are being released. According to NOLA.com, 1,747 peer-reviewed research papers have been published since September and just 32 (less than 3%) focused on human health. Also, the 32 studies do not represent the full extent of other research conducted by independent groups after the spill. A focus on the use of dispersants revealed that turning the crude into aerosol reduced the threat of chemical exposure by breathing it in but activated a gene linked to obesity. This study was obviously bias and wonder why the chronic and lethal diseases linked to causation were not investigated.