Fisherman to BP: I like you, but only as friends
John Wutsell Jr., a fisherman who was hospitalized after becoming ill while cleaning up oil in the Gulf, has filed a temporary restraining order in federal court against BP.
Apparently, Wutsell missed the update issued by BP CEO Tony Hayward that he wasn’t made sick by oil fumes, or exposure to Corexit, but by food poisoning.
Wutsell (who experienced severe headaches, nosebleeds, and stomach pains) humbly disagrees, and he wants BP to give the clean-up workers masks, and — get this insane demand — not harass workers who publicly voice their health concerns.
On Friday, Wutstell was airlifted to West Jefferson Medical Center in Marrero, Louisiana, where he remained hospitalized Sunday.
“At West Jefferson, there were tents set up outside the hospital, where I was stripped of my clothing, washed with water and several showers, before I was allowed into the hospital,” Wutstell sais. “When I asked for my clothing, I was told that BP had confiscated all of my clothing and it would not be returned.”
Hm, now why would BP want to confiscate all of Wutsell’s clothing? One possibility is that they want to destroy any evidence that they’ve been exposing workers to unsafe conditions so as to avoid future criminal liability charges.
This is the same warped logic behind BP refusing to allow fishermen to wear respirators that I reported last week.
Wutsell’s restraining order also demands that BP stop using Corexit, the toxic dispersant, which has been banned in the UK.
The safety data information sheet from the manufacturer states that people should “avoid breathing in vapor” from Corexit, and that masks should be work when Corexit is present in certain concentrations in the air.
BP has not supplied workers with masks when they work near the oil and dispersants.
BP doesn’t want to give these workers masks because doing so would be an acknowledgement that the company is exposing them to harmful chemicals. If workers later develops respiratory, nervous system, liver, kidney or blood disorders, symptoms that have been linked to Corexit exposure, it would be easier for them to sue BP for damages.
Stories have been coming in of workers reporting feeling “drugged and disoriented.” Meanwhile, doctors at West Jefferson have said that the symptoms appear to be caused by “a combination of some sort of chemical irritant and dehydration, and they have diagnosed one of the 11 oil-spill workers with “chemical exposure.”