Residents of the US Gulf Coast say their pleas for help and transparency continue to be ignored by regulators.
Michelle Nix, from Pensacola, Florida, founded the group Gulf Coast Oil Spill Volunteers in an effort to be pro-active and do what she could to help when the BP oil disaster began on April 20.
“I had 500 volunteers coordinated to help with cleanup, people offering free oil boom, people donating their work and time to help,” Nix told Al Jazeera.
She contacted the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Coast Guard, Wildlife and Fisheries, “and everyone I could think of to try to help,” Nix said. “But none of them responded. None of the government agencies would get back in touch with me.”
Nix, not to be deterred, helped organise blood tests for several Gulf coasts residents who were experiencing sicknesses attributed to toxic chemicals released from BP’s well blow-out and the dispersants the company has used to sink the oil.
In October, Dr. Wilma Subra, a chemist and Macarthur Fellow, conducted the blood tests for volatile solvents – chemicals present in BP’s crude oil as well as their toxic dispersants – on eight people Nix provided who live and work along the coast.