Gulf Coast Oil Spill Sparks Legislation, Concern Over Health Impact for Workers


On July 8, 2010, the New York Times reported that the Florida legislature has called a special session in order to pass a constitutional ban on offshore oil drilling. The measure would be up for public vote on the November ballot in Florida, giving residents the ability to decide on drilling operations in the Gulf of Mexico and other offshore locations near the state’s shores. Currently, offshore drilling is banned by Florida statute but not by constitutional ban.

In response to the growing concern for Florida residents and shores, the White House announced yesterday that the first lady, Michelle Obama, would be visiting Panama City Beach, Florida on Monday to meet with local officials and residents. She plans to discuss updates on the oil spill as well as how it is impacting the community thus far.

The Oil Spill’s Effect on Temporary Workers and Their Health Temporary workers being dispatched to the Gulf of Mexico to clean up tar and oil deposits along the coastline are already complaining of flu-like symptoms, according to a June 4, 2010 article in USA Today. Dozens of workers have received treatment at local hospitals for symptoms such as chest pain, dizziness, nausea and headaches.

Doctors presume these conditions are the direct result of exposure to chemical dispersants, solvents and other hazardous materials used in the cleanup process. After the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska, workers complained of similar health problems. As the oil spill continues to grow, health officials cannot possibly predict the long-term effects on workers, so it is important that affected people seek legal representation for their injuries.