Jul 9, 2010 6:35 PM by Carolyn Cerda
Those who were sent to help with the cleanup efforts in the Gulf, now need help themselves. Thousands of workers are face to face with the oil spill every day, skimming it off the water, cleaning animals and laying boom. About 1,500 of those workers have complained about feeling sick on the job.
But, no one really knows some of the long term effects of exposure to oil and chemical dispersants. That's why local bloggers, workers, elected officials, and environmental groups launched bpmakesmesick.com.
"We cannot let the denial of protective gear that hurt so many 9/11 clean-up workers happen again with the Gulf clean-up workers," reads a statement signed by the groups, organized by the Progressive Change Campaign Committee. "President Obama and the federal government must demand that BP allow every clean-up worker who wants to wear respiratory protective equipment to do so -- and ensure that workers get the equipment and training they need to do their jobs safely."
"These things are a health risk to humans and we need to take proper precaution... Everyone needs to be protected," said Dean Martin. He's a member of one the groups that supports the website, Sierra Club. "Their health comes before anything else, anything else... We need to make sure the cleanup workers come first and foremost."
New Iberia environmentalist, Wilma Subra, says the workers won't speak up for themselves, because they are afraid of losing their jobs. That's why she says the organizations have to speak for them.
"We're trying to get the message out that the fishers are sick. They need protective gear when in contact with the dispersants and the crude oil."
The website was launched Thursday and within the first 4 hours 15,000 people had signed on. Friday, that number had more than doubled.