Sunday, June 8, 2014

Health Effects of Michigan Oil Spill Linger: Tar Sands and Lighter Oils "Double Whammy" Impact

Image: Blind Grasshopper via flickr

Just months after the BP spill last year, an Enbridge pipeline spilled nearly a million gallons of oil into a creek flowing into the Kalamazoo River near Battle Creek, Michigan. It became the largest oil spill in the Midwest, and—surprise—the toxicity resulting from the spill is worse than officials have admitted. 

Michigan Messenger tells the story through the eyes of 22-year-old Nicholas Forte, who has spent the last year dealing with health issues ranging from migraines to seizures, and Riki Ott, an environmental toxicologist and oil spill expert who has been tracking the health impacts of oil spills since Exxon Valdez, which affected her home.

Ott listened to about 50 people list off symptoms they've experienced over the last year and, Michigan Messenger reports:
For Ott, it was a litany list of symptoms and voices of frustration she has heard from Alaska to South Korea to the Gulf Coast and now in Calhoun county. And Calhoun, she says, represents exposures to both tar sands and lighter oils, each with its own chemical make ups and attendant toxins.
"You've got the worst of two worlds. You're getting a fully double whammy," she says of the Cold Lake Crude Oil. "Peoples' health problems (from the Enbridge spill) are identical to the Gulf."
Ott says that studies about health impacts conducted by health officials since last summer are based on 40-year old science.  MORE

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