By Dahr Jamail
Despite BP having capped its well in the Gulf of Mexico in July, the health-related after-effects of the disaster subsist.
Gulf Coast residents and BP cleanup workers have linked the source of certain illnesses to chemicals present in BP’s oil and the toxic dispersants used to sink it – illnesses that appear to be both spreading and worsening.
Dr. Rodney Soto, a medical doctor in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida, has been testing and treating patients with high levels of oil-related chemicals in their blood stream. These are commonly referred to as Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC’s). Anthropogenic VOC’s from BP’s oil disaster are toxic and have negative chronic health effects.
Dr. Soto is finding disconcertingly consistent and high levels of toxic chemicals in every one of the patients he is testing.
"I’m regularly finding between five and seven VOCs in my patients," Dr. Soto told Al Jazeera. "These patients include people not directly involved in the oil clean-up, as well as residents that do not live right on the coast. These are clearly related to the oil disaster."