Workers who are tackling the cleanup from the BP oil disaster have been having flu-like symptoms. As of the writing of the following article, the Louisiana Department of Health has identified 108 workers who are showing adverse effects directly resulting from their proximity to the cleanup attempts of the BP oil spill.
Residents in the area are reporting similar symptoms. The profile so far seems to involve respiratory disorders, throat irritation, dizziness, nausea, headaches and chest pain.
" 'Total Petroleum Hydrocarbons (TPH) is a term used to describe a broad family of several hundred chemical compounds that originally come from crude oil,' according to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. 'Some of the TPH compounds, particularly the smaller compounds such as benzene, toluene, and xylene (which are present in gasoline), can affect the human central nervous system. If exposures are high enough, death can occur. Breathing toluene at concentrations greater than 100 parts per million (100 ppm) for more than several hours can causefatigue, headache, nausea, and drowsiness. When exposure is stopped, the symptoms will go away. However, if someone is exposed for a long time, permanent damage to the central nervous system can occur.' "