The CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention) held a conference call today where concerned citizens across the country listened and asked important questions regarding the ongoing Gulf Oil Spill crisis. Many individuals asked questions regarding their particular affected field. Physicians, paramedics, and nurses asked the CDC how they should respond when they begin to receive patients with injuries as a result of the spill. Others asked questions about the how the various organizations are collecting and consolidating the data developing from the spill. While several of these questions were answered, many were not.
One concerned educator asked about the upcoming hurricane season and what types of new protocols are being implemented in response. The CDC was unsure. Additionally, a Louisiana Registered Nurse noted that the reports regarding the spill are currently on a voluntary basis. She expressed her concern that because the reports are merely voluntary, her facility may be negatively affected for doing the right thing and lose business as a result. A representative from the CDC said that it is unlikely that something like that would happen and companies such as BP were being very cooperative at the moment. Her response, “well I don’t really trust BP anymore.”
Importantly, one woman referred back to the September 11 air pollution levels as a result of all of the debris. At that time, the government reassured the public that the pollution levels were acceptable and did not pose a risk to workers. Years later, however, it was discovered that thousands of workers involved in the cleanup have suffered long-term health issues as a result. Similarly, the cleanup efforts for the Gulf should not be taken lightly. The CDC and other government entities need to closely monitor the long-term effects that these chemicals may have on clean-up workers. Especially since many of the cleanup workers are fishermen who have already lost their economic livelihood as a result of the spill. Their health should not have to suffer as well.
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The CDC also recommends visiting NOAA’s (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) website for further information.