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BP cleanup workers may have been exposed to a dangerous chemical

When the Deepwater Horizon drilling platform exploded in 2010, 11 people were immediately killed. Most people across the nation, especially those living in states along the Gulf of Mexico, remember this part of the disaster the most because it illustrated the true cost of ignoring safety requirements and providing a safe working environment.

You may also remember the cleanup efforts that took place afterwards to take care of the nearly five million barrels of oil that gushed into the ocean following the accident. As some of our more frequent readers may remember, we highlighted the cleanup efforts in an April 25, 2011 post where we explained that the $1 billion BP intended on putting toward the cleanup efforts might not be enough to cover all the damage the spill caused.

If we look at research conducted a few months ago by the University of Alabama at Birmingham, we can see that our concerns were warranted. That's because researchers may have found a link between serious lung-related illnesses and structural abnormalities in cells to the oil-dispersant chemical used in the BP cleanup. Scientists speculate that repeated exposure to the chemical, called Corexit EC9500A, could damage the lungs of individuals who inhale the chemical, which could lead to problematic health conditions.

If this is true and cleanup workers were repeatedly exposed to the chemical, it's not difficult to believe that some of the estimated 48,000 cleanup workers may have developed an occupational illness from chemical exposure. This could mean that BP is far more liable for damages than it was shortly after the accident and that injured workers might have a claim for a medical settlement that would cover medical expenses for their work-related injury.

Only time will tell though if this comes to fruition or if any of our Houston readers will benefit from it down the road.

Source: The Washington Post, "Study suggests chemical used in BP oil spill cleanup capable of injuring people and wildlife," Michael E. Miller, April 7, 2015

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