Oil Clean-up Workers Being Exposed to Potential Health Risks, Houston Attorney Says

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Lawyers in the Houston maritime law firm of Arnold & Itkin, says reports of oil clean-up workers becoming ill expands the scope of the disaster caused by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

Houston Maritime Lawyer Kurt Arnold

The scope of this unprecedented disaster is only continuing to grow wider and threaten the people, businesses and environment of the Gulf Coast.

Commercial fishermen hired by BP to clean up waters polluted by the massive Deepwater Horizon oil spill could be the latest victims of the ongoing oil disaster, Houston maritime injury lawyer Kurt Arnold says.

The workers who have been doing clean-up jobs after the closing of commercial fishing grounds have complained in recent days of severe headaches, dizziness, nausea and difficulty breathing, several media outlets report.

BP has provided the workers with protective coveralls and gloves, but not respirators or other breathing apparatus, a company spokesman said.

“These workers are facing potentially serious health risks,” said Arnold, a partner in the Houston, Texas law firm of Arnold & Itkin LLP, which is representing clients who were injured when the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded and sank on April 20 about 50 miles off the coast of Louisiana.

“This shows that the scope of this unprecedented disaster is only continuing to grow wider and threaten the people, businesses and environment of the Gulf Coast,” said lawyer Jason Itkin, another partner in the firm.

Government officials estimated this week that oil has been spewing out of a blown well 5,000 feet underneath water in the Gulf of Mexico at an estimated rate of 504,000 to 1 million gallons a day. Those estimates show the disaster has surpassed the Exxon Valdez as the biggest oil spill in U.S. history.

In early May, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration began closing commercial and recreational fishing waters along the Gulf Coast, leaving scores of commercial fishermen unemployed.

BP has hired many of the fishermen to lay containment booms or skim oil in areas where the oil and a chemical dispersant have washed ashore. According to news reports, a company official said the workers are not being sent to areas that would require respirators.

The Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality and the Department of Health and Hospitals have warned oil clean-up workers to wear protective clothing and respiratory protection.

Also, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has said that oil leaking from the well could be harmful to human and animal health.

Rep. Charlie Melancon (D-La.) has asked federal officials for help in setting up mobile medical units to treat workers and fishermen complaining of health problems near contaminated waters.

About Arnold & Itkin LLP

The lawyers at Arnold & Itkin LLP, a personal injury law firm based in Houston, Texas, understand the complexities and legalities of maritime law and have a successful track record of verdicts and settlements in favor of maritime workers. The firm provides legal guidance on all aspects of maritime law and the benefits offshore workers are entitled to under the Jones Act, the Death on the High Seas Act, the principle of maintenance and cure, or the Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act.

The firm handles maritime claims at port cities along the Gulf Coast in Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. The firm can be contacted toll free at (866) 222-2606 or online through the firm's website.

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