New BP Data Show 20% of Gulf Spill Responders Exposed to Chemical That Sickened Valdez Workers

Elana Schor
In an under-the-radar release of new test results for its Gulf of Mexico oil spill workers, BP PLC is reporting potentially hazardous exposures to a now-discontinued dispersant chemical — a substance blamed for contributing to chronic health problems after the Exxon Valdez cleanup — among more than 20 percent of offshore responders.
BP’s new summary of chemical testing, posted to its website this week after a nearly monthlong absence of new data, also makes notable revisions to the company’s public characterization of the health risks facing Gulf workers. The oil giant now describes the government as a partner in developing the program for monitoring cleanup crews.
In a June 9 report on worker test results, BP confidently asserted that the health hazards of exposure to both dispersant chemicals and the components of leaking crude “are very low.” In its latest summary, BP replaced those three words with an assurance that health risks “have been carefully considered in the selection of the various methods employed in addressing its spill.”

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