The Gulf Coast, unfortunately, is no stranger to devastating marine pollution. The Deepwater Horizon incident had far-reaching consequences, the extent of which are still not fully known, but the short-term effects have been deeply troubling. The immediate effect of an oil spill in particular results in a thick fume spreading along the sea towards the coast. This fume is made possible because oil is what is known as a “volatile chemical.”
As it spreads, oil partially evaporates into the air, but because it is a heavy substance, it remains close to the ground where it can be inhaled. When a breeze carries these fumes into populated areas on the coast, people breathe the oil fumes in, deeply embedding poisonous substances into their lungs.
Short-term effects are well-documented—exposure to oil fumes on the coast, both for marine workers and fishermen enlisted in clean-up efforts, resulted in nausea, dizziness, and lethargy that faded as the fumes cleared away. However, long-term effects are still a mystery for the most part.
Part of the concern is that crude oil contains hundreds of chemicals, many of which are harmful to humans. Benzene, one of the chemicals common in oil fumes, is known to cause leukemia. Other chemicals in crude oil are also known to cause cancer, making oil one of the most dangerous substances to be exposed to widespread groups of people. However, apart from cancer, environmental scientists are only now beginning research into the long-term effects of unprotected oil exposure—that means we will not receive definitive results for another 10 to 15 years.
BP is still currently settling claims against them for their negligence in the Deepwater Horizon spill, but those are for the short-term effects of their actions. How health claims will be handled a decade from now remains to be seen. This includes how the spill affected women who were pregnant at the time of the spill, as petroleum chemicals have been linked to severe birth defects. Whether adults who suffer from congenital disease as a result of fetal exposure to petroleum toxins will have legal recourse is also a question that will eventually need to be answered.
What is certain is this—for claims regarding marine pollution and their effect on the health of individuals and communities, people need an experienced maritime injury lawyer. Because the case will deal with offshore entities, maritime law may factor into the case alongside laws regarding injury and illness. If you are experiencing health struggles as a result of exposure to oil fumes, pollution, or the negligence of offshore drilling companies such as BP, you need highly-skilled, deeply-experienced representation to lend power to your voice.
Do not let your illness due to marine pollution go unheard—maritime injury attorneys at Arnold & Itkin LLP can recover the compensation that you deserve. Contact us today.
Arnold & Itkin represented nearly a third of the crewmembers injured in the Deepwater Horizon explosion.
Because maritime law is so complex and so complicated, it is crucial that you work with an attorney who has an in-depth understanding of how it works and who has proven themselves in similar cases before.