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Exposure to chemical dispersants BP used in the Gulf of Mexico oil spill has caused seizures, inability to walk, blindness, and has led to suicides.

Plane spraying Corexit dispersant on oil in the Gulf of Mexico. (photo: Stephen Lehmann/US Coast Guard via EPA)
Plane spraying Corexit dispersant on oil in the Gulf of Mexico. (photo: Stephen Lehmann/US Coast Guard via EPA)



Horrific Injuries Linked to BP Dispersant Corexit

By Cameron Langford, Courthouse News Service

14 May 12

 

xposure to chemical dispersants BP used in the Gulf of Mexico oil spill left a commercial diver with seizures, unable to walk and going blind - and two members of his dive team committed suicide, the man claims in Harris County Court.

David Hogan and his wife sued BP and NALCO Co. - which made the Corexit oil dispersants - and a host of other defendants, including Halliburton, Transocean, ConocoPhillips, Xplore Oil & Gas and Stuyvesant Dredging Co.

After BP's Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded on April 20, 2010, unleashing the worst oil spill in U.S. history, BP hired contractors to spray and inject more than 1.8 million gallons of Corexit into the Gulf of Mexico, according to the complaint.

"Between June 1, 2010 and the end of November, 2010, David Hogan performed commercial diving work from boats and vessels that were owned, leased, chartered, contracted for, and/or under the direction and control of Specialty Offshore, ConocoPhillips, Xplore Oil, and the Stuyvesant defendants in the navigable water of the Gulf of Mexico. On every one of those dives during that period of time, David Hogan dove into waters that were contaminated with both the crude oil and the Corexit® dispersants," the complaint states.

Hogan says that on his first dive, in June 2010, "he immediately noticed that something was different from his prior diving experiences," and that "the oil seemed to have sunk considerably deeper into the depths of the Gulf waters than he had ever seen or experienced before. He immediately terminated his dive and returned to the surface, only to find that his wetsuit looked entirely different than it had ever looked before when he had dived into waters with an oil spill."

Hogan says neither ConocoPhillips nor Specialty Offshore provided him or his team with any information about NALCO's Corexit dispersants.

"Expressing concern for the safety of himself and his dive team, he contacted the ConocoPhillips onsite supervisor, who gave him a 'BP Hotline' to call if people had any concerns with respect to health and safety," according to the complaint.

"Upon calling that number, a person answered, identifying themselves as being with BP. After expressing his concern with respect to what he had seen and experienced during his brief dive, that BP spokesperson told Mr. Hogan there was nothing for him to be concerned about, but that he would have one of BP's health and safety people come out to the ConocoPhillips platform to talk to Mr. Hogan and his dive team.

"Within the hour, a helicopter landed on the platform and a man who introduced himself as being a BP representative got out of the helicopter came over to talk to Mr. Hogan.

"BP's 'health and safety man' represented and assured Mr. Hogan and his dive that, notwithstanding the fact that they would be diving and spending a considerable amount of time in the Deepwater Horizon's oil spill, there was absolutely nothing harmful or hazardous to their safety or health in the oil, in the water, or whatever was causing the oil to sink so deep beneath the surface.

"In fact, when this case is tried, the evidence will show that this BP 'health and safety man' made Mr. Hogan feel as though it was foolish for Mr. Hogan to have called at all, and it seemed as if the BP 'health and safety man' had wasted his time flying all the way out to where Mr. Hogan and his dive team were located, for such a trivial matter.

"Mr. Hogan and the BP 'health and safety man' specifically talked about whether Mr. Hogan and his dive team would need to change to 'haz-mat' dive gear if there was a concern for safety and health in what was in the water and oil spill; however, the BP 'health and safety man' reassured Mr. Hogan that 'haz-mat' diving gear was not necessary since there was absolutely nothing in the oil or anything mixed with the oil that was hazardous or of any concern, from a health standpoint to Mr. Hogan and his dive crew.

"Based on that information," Hogan says, he and his crew worked 18- to 20-hour days for the next 1 to 2 weeks, in water that was "consistently contaminated with oil for a considerable distance below the surface." Hogan says the water also was contaminated with Corexit.

He and his team worked in the oil- and Corexit-contaminated water for 5 months for a variety of defendants, Hogan says, including ConocoPhillips, Xplore Oil & Gas and Stuyvesant Dredging.

"Again, at the end of each diving day, Mr. Hogan and his dive team's wetsuits would look like something they had never seen before prior to starting these diving operations back in June 2010," the complaint states.

Hogan says at least one team member started having health problems before they finished their work for Stuyvesant Dredging.

"Two of the dive team members have since committed suicide," the complaint states.

Hogan says due to the assurances they got from BP's "health and safety man," they did not initially blame their health problems on the contaminated waters.

"However, as Mr. Hogan's health problems progressed and did not abate, he ultimately contacted a physician in Louisiana who had been treating hundreds of patients who had come into contact with the oil and Corexit® dispersants," according to the complaint.

"By August, 2011, medical testing and medical evaluation by one or more physicians familiar with exposure to the oil spill and, particularly, exposure to the Corexit® dispersants, led physicians to inform Mr. Hogan that his progressing medical problems were caused by the contact with the oil spill during his diving operations between June and November, 2010.

"Through additional testing and medical evaluation, by November 16, 2011, Mr. Hogan had been diagnosed as suffering from neurotoxicity 'related to chronic and cumulative exposure to chemical and heavy metals associated with the Gulf oil spill and dispersant.'

"At this time, Mr. Hogan is suffering from a myriad of health issues related to his exposure to the oil spill and NALCO Corexit® dispersants, including but not limited to the fact that he cannot walk, his vision has progressed to being legally blind in his left eye and his most recent eye examination shows that he continues to lose sight in his right eye, and for all intents and purposes, is a paraplegic."

Hogan says that before his exposure to the chemicals he "was a very gregarious, healthy man" who climbed 14,400-foot Mount Rainier in May 2010.

"Since November 2010, he has lost 60 pounds and is wheelchair-bound. If that were not enough,

David has also suffered cognitive problems, seizures, vertigo," the complaint states. (Graph 63)

Hogan says he is rapidly losing vision in his right eye.

Named as defendants are British Petroleum Exploration & Production Inc.; BP America Inc.; BP America Production Company; BP Products North America Inc.; BP plc; Halliburton Energy Services Inc.; Transocean Ltd.; Transocean Offshore Deepwater Drilling Inc.; Transocean Deepwater Inc.; Transocean Holdings LLC; NALCO Company; Specialty Offshore Inc.; ConocoPhillps; Xplore Oil & Gas LLC; Stuyvesant Dredging Company; and Stuyvesant Dredging Inc.

Transocean owned the Deepwater Horizon rig; Halliburton performed cement work on the Macondo well beneath the rig before the blowout.

Hogan seeks punitive damages for gross negligence and negligence under general maritime law and the Jones Act, from NALCO for products liability under general maritime law, and punitive damages for past and future physical pain and suffering, past and future mental pain, suffering and anguish, past and future medical bills and lost wages.

He and his wife are represented by Craig Lewis, of Houston

 

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+69 # chrisconnolly 2012-05-14 07:35
So what kind of damages to the marine life, if there is any left, have been documented. I know the old saw that the solution to pollution is dilution is absolutely faulty in its premise so why are we allowing so much pollution into our life giving environment. And why are we letting such monumentally criminal acts against humanity and all life to go unpublished and unpunished just so a few can make so much money?
 
 
+46 # portiz 2012-05-14 10:06
I looked up the MSDS for Corexit:
http://www.lmrk.org/corexit_9500_uscueg.539287.pdf
http://lmrk.org/master_ec9527a_msds.539295.pdf

Note these lines:
"Do not get in eyes, on skin, on clothing....Avo id breathing vapor. Use with adequate ventilation. In case of contact with eyes, rinse immediately with plenty of water and seek medical advice. After contact with skin, wash immediately with plenty of soap and water. Wear suitable protective clothing."

"Repeated or excessive exposure to butoxyethanol may cause injury to red blood cells (hemolysis), kidney or the liver. Harmful by inhalation, in contact with skin and if swallowed. Do not get in eyes, on skin, on clothing."

That stuff is NASTY!
 
 
-23 # genierae 2012-05-14 10:44
Evidently Mr. Hogan wasn't as smart as you, portiz. He didn't take the time to look up this harmful chemical and that may have cost him and his team their lives. Ignorance is killing us.
 
 
+81 # portiz 2012-05-14 11:37
Yes, it is true that we all need to take responsibility for our health.

But, the fact of the matter is that BP knowingly and willfully LIED to people, and should be held FULLY responsible for ALL of their misdeeds.
 
 
+27 # genierae 2012-05-14 17:12
I was not excusing BP, I was just saying that we can't trust corporations at all and we must do everything we can to protect ourselves. There was a time when companies were smaller and they had some integrity. Those days are gone forever.
 
 
+31 # Vardoz 2012-05-14 15:13
This will prove to be a tragedy beyond our imagination. It will kill for decades and destroy one of the world's most precious wildlife sancturaries that provides us with a vast quantity of seafood. In addtional toxic substances are evaporated into the air and rain down on many crops bith organic and non- organic. I don't buy seafood at all anymore or produce grown in Florida
 
 
+50 # Bruce Gruber 2012-05-14 08:09
It is WAY past time to remove the insulation that 'corporatocracy ' provides for smart-assed weasels and their legal indemnifiers and the government they are stealing from us. Personal responsibility and accountability is needed up to the very top of these companies for their connivance, indifference and ignorance for the human and environmental destruction and degradation they promote concealed as 'profit'. Our future has been mortgaged by the costs being dumped on consumers' lives, governments and the tax burdens necessary to rebuild civilization as humane.
We see how much Americans have gained from Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad [1886] cited as precedent to hold that a private corporation was a "natural person." Hundreds of local, state and federal laws enacted to protect people from corporate harm based on this ridiculous premise.
In Minneapolis & St. Louis Railroad v.
Beckwith [1889] the Supreme Court ruled a corporation to be a “person” for both due process and equal protection, a concept nearly as preposterous as the 'Citizens (sic) United ruling that money equals "free" speech.

Take a ride on any railroad to see what we get for "THEIR" investment in our alleged 'land of the free'.
 
 
+46 # universlman 2012-05-14 08:25
The BP environmental disaster is just a warning that regulations (such as a NEPA review) can and will be mauled when they get between the mother bear (BP) and her cub (oil company profits.) These powerful interests and their paid-off government bodyguards will defend even an unpleasant operator like BP against corporate negligence.

Environmental regulations and David Hogan are but two of the victims of our current swing to the right away from common sense. Over the last ten years even Constitutional guarantees against unlawful imprisonment have been swept aside as if they did not exist.
 
 
+23 # amye 2012-05-14 08:44
I would never want to change my good health for lawsuits that may make me a millionaire if lucky to win the case! Health is everything in the world!!! Not Money and horrible suffering! I feel so bad for those who have been exposed to toxic chemicals like this gentleman! It really makes you wonder whats in the seafood!!
 
 
+39 # CoyoteMan50 2012-05-14 08:51
I predict more and worse oil spills that harms thousands in the next 4 or 5 years.
Big oil will kill anyone who gets in the way of it's profits.
 
 
+33 # propsguy 2012-05-14 09:32
i'm sorry, but how many false assurances do we have to get from corporate types before we simply stop listening to them?
so based on the PR spin of a BP rep, they kept diving even though their wetsuits looked different than anything they had experienced before?
why didn't they ask they BP guy to suit up and show them how safe it actually was? i bet he would have come up with some excuse not to dive.
of course, this guy should sue and hopefully, he will win. but please!
oh, don't worry, take this pill, eat this synthetic food, subject yourself to this radiation- it's all perfectly safe and we make billions off it.
then when it's not safe and you're left with cancer, blindness, water you can't drink and air you can't breathe, you say "but they told me it was safe!"
why would you ever believe anything that a representative of a corporation tells you? they should have walked off the job
 
 
+31 # genierae 2012-05-14 09:51
Mr. Hogan and his dive team should have worn the hazmat suits as a precaution whether BP approved or not. Better to wear them and not need them, than to need them and not wear them. As a former EMT I am shocked that they didn't follow safety guidelines. The oil alone is very toxic, why would they dive into it without protection? It's obvious that the only reason the dispersant was used was to hide the oil from sight. Out of sight, out of mind? These very bad actors care not at all for the suffering and deaths that the dive team experienced, they care only about making billions and trillions of dollars. I read recently that after the Exxon Valdez spill, President Bush, Sr. sent a representative to Exxon demanding 6,000 workers to clean it up. Exxon refused and told him they would talk to Bush. When the rep. returned to the White House he was told to forget about it. Corporations are more powerful than the president it seems.
 
 
+13 # NOMINAE 2012-05-14 19:57
@genierae

That Corporations are more powerful than the president is now simply a matter of observable fact. Corporations don't even bother with the old charades anymore.

During the BP Spill, and the endless f*#ked-up efforts to stop the leaking well, President Obama publicly threatened to come down to the Gulf to oversee the BP circus.

BP simply told Obama, also publicly, that he did not have the requisite experience, and that he should just basically sit down and shut up.

Not only did Obama back down from BP, he spent the next week (or at least three days of that week) appearing on national television to assure the public that he, Obama, was in charge, and that full responsibility for the oil spill rested personally with him, Obama.

(to be Cont'd)
 
 
+7 # NOMINAE 2012-05-14 19:58
@ genierae (CON'TD)

Two points. First, if one really IS in charge, one need not go on national TV begging the public to *believe* that one is in charge.

Second, never a word was spoken regarding the fact that Obama did *NOT* personally go down to the Gulf to oversee the operation after BP essentially told him to sit down and shut up.

As to BP's claim that Obama did not have the requisite expertise ? How ridiculous. As CINC of the Armed Forces, Obama could have ordered Navy/Seal master divers and underwater demolition experts down to the Gulf to cap that damned well post haste.

However, the way the military caps a well would have forced BP to start all over again on that hole.

Look whose will publicly prevailed. BP's not that of POTUS.
 
 
+3 # NOMINAE 2012-05-14 20:14
@ genierae

RSN has now run a definitive article from Chris Hedges at TruthDig regarding the relative power structure between Corporations and Politicians entitled "Colonized By Corporations".

If interested, it can be accessed at:
http://readersupportednews.org/off-site-opinion-section/83-83/11425-focus-colonized-by-corporations

or on the Truthdig website
 
 
+7 # genierae 2012-05-15 07:29
I have already read it NOMINAE, but I have known for years that multinational corporations are pretty much lawless, criminal organizations. It's just that I hadn't heard the story of Exxon and Bush the elder. So NOMINAE, what do you think President Obama should do about these out-of-control corporations?
 
 
+3 # NOMINAE 2012-05-16 02:34
@ genierae

I was pleased to see the story re: Exxon and Poppy Bush as well. I had also been previously unaware of that. Thank you for sharing it with us.

In re: the President, I am, unfortunately, forced to concur with Mr. Hedges' assessment of the situation.

I do not believe that the POTUS has any longer the means to control U.S. Corporations, much less International Corporations such as BP, et al.

That seems to be why such Internationals are now willing to "dis" the POTUS, not only to his face, but in broad daylight, so to speak, and on National television.

You may recall that BP was using *our* U.S. Coast Guard to prevent *our* U.S. Citizens (especially reporters) from being able to access *public* beaches on U.S. soil down in Louisiana. Those facts, and publicly humiliating and challenging the POTUS seemed to me a very powerful message regarding who really *is* in control of the show, and who apparently no longer "has to care" about who *else* knows it !

Chris Hedges could not be more correct in the referenced article we have read. It will just take some heavy-duty "swallowing" of his highly accurate, but not-so-immediat ely-encouraging analysis by the American people before we can even *begin* to extricate ourselves from the box we have walked into.

And the "old tools" will no longer be effective.
 
 
+1 # genierae 2012-05-21 14:12
So sorry, NOMINAE, I commented on so many articles I lost track. In case you come back here, I agree with your assessment of the Obama/BP situation. Nowadays, without the backing of congress, the President is almost powerless to deal with these multinationals. But I think that they will eventually fall of their own evil weight, they are the most corrupt organizations on earth, and this will be their downfall.
 
 
+25 # Chuck H. 2012-05-14 10:40
Like thr banks mishandling what they are responsible for, the oil companies are worse at it than the banks. The oil companies should be regulated on every aspect of their operations, including the cleanup of their messes. It has been proven that their mismanagement costs lives as well as money.
 
 
+18 # Cdesignpdx 2012-05-15 09:32
The sociopaths know that as long as the populace is focusing on Dancing with the Stars, they can continue sprinkling their Fairy Dust over our air, airwaves, water and food.
 
 
+10 # noitall 2012-05-15 10:16
How about shutting down professional sports? That is when you'll see Americans stand up for their "rights", spelled W-A-N-T-S. If Americans were as informed by the media about what matters as they are about sports and who is screwing who, this would be a much more progressive country AND we'd be playing the role America has played in the past to lead on good things. As it stands, we ARE the "axis of evil" but we don't know it. Ignorance is bliss (until it kicks you in the side of the head).
 
 
+10 # noitall 2012-05-15 10:10
Shortly after the "spill", when they started spraying the dispursant, I began writing letters and making telephone calls to stop this secondary "spill" which would worsten the disaster. It is nothing but BP sweeping the spill under the rug (deeper into the ocean) making it worse. As in Alaska, they steam "cleaned" the beaches, thinning the oil and forcing it deep into the habitat and it remains there today as will the oil remain out-of-sight-ou t-of-most american's minds. The "news" media reported of the success of the dispursant and that most of the oil had already "evaporated". What a bunch of collusive bullshit. The oil is all suspended deep, functioning as a 'net' for whatever swims into or near it. As long as it stays there, which it won't,it will just seep up little by little and be the deadly time capsule that it is. On the beaches around LA one sees blobs of oil from the off-shore rigs. How long had that oil (and how much of it) is schlopping around poisoning the environment before it ends up as an inconvenient blob on the sands of Malibu? That is the future of the Gulf Coast and the coast of Alaska. They can hide it but it doesn't go away. Ever spill oil in your driveway? ever see it evaporate as fast as it supposedly did in the gulf? soak in maybe, but it is still there. The chemicals they sprayed are probably as bad or worse than the spill which is maybe only a little less worse than Fukashima. We won't live to see the end of either.
 
 
+6 # MEBrowning 2012-05-15 21:29
It's true. Anyone who's ever been to the Arizona Memorial off Honolulu can see oil rising to the surface from that vessel, 71 years later. Compared to the BP spill, that's like a drop of butchwax off a comb.
 
 
+9 # carolsj 2012-05-15 15:31
It's obvious that corporations can't be trusted. They want a weak government so they can have their way with us. We need a strong gov't to control them and legislate their morality because they have no motivation to be good. The only requirement on a corp is to make money. That needs to change.
 
 
+7 # sandyclaws 2012-05-17 04:30
I get so mad when I see the advertisements for "the Gulf has returned to the way it always was"! It will never be the way it was before the spill. That oil is still down there, but that info is being silenced. Just think folks, Fish are "living" in that pollution that is killing those divers, and fisherman are catching them. Do you know how our govt agency is testing the fish? They have a group of people walk around a table with fish on them and they have the people sniff them! Yes, you read me right! In this day of high tech chemical analysis, we forego that high tech stuff and rely 100% on our noses? Maybe, you don't look for something you know you will find! This seafood contains these toxins. How can they not? Prove it through high tech chemical anaysis.....I dare ya! I won't eat those fish!
 
 
+3 # Pickwicky 2012-05-17 14:06
Then there's Roundup. The moral of these stories is: never believe what a corporation says about its product!
 
 
+3 # tin hat required 2012-05-17 21:46
Corexit was being blogged about in places like theoildrum in July of 2010. The safety report on Corexit was that it was much much more hazardous to humans when mixed with diesel.
Some people have warned about food from the Gulf until such time as the Corexit is gone.

A Must read.

Toxicologists: Corexit “Ruptures Red Blood Cells, Causes Internal Bleeding”, “Allows Crude Oil To Penetrate “Into The Cells” and “Every Organ System”
July 10, 2010

http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2010/07/toxicologists-corexit-ruptures-red.html
 

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