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The Lingering Effects of the BP Oil Spill

Nearly four years after the event and the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, also known as the Deepwater Horizon disaster, continues to be the focus of much attention. This is mostly because the effects continue to impinge on the people, the businesses, and the environment in the region.

Crude oil is a naturally occurring organic compound, but it does not mean that its introduction in significant amounts into the environment will not be harmful. Crude oil, also called petroleum, consists mostly of hydrocarbons, but it also contains pollutants such as quinoline and pyridine. Pyridine, for example, is toxic when it comes in contact with the skin, swallowed, or inhaled. Quinoline spreads easily in water and is known as an irritant. Chronic exposure quinoline is believed to cause liver damage and increase the risk for some cancers. Add to that the toxic effects of the dispersant applied to control the spread of the oil and you have a charming combination of chemicals to contend with.

The health effects of the spill have been well documented among those who live in the area. Aside from skin and respiratory problems, acute and chronic exposure to the oil spill has resulted in the development of mental and psychological disorders over the past four years.

It is not surprising then that people are staying away from the region. The sight of tarballs and oil-coated birds that continue to show up on the coastline is enough to discourage tourists, and as a consequence, many businesses have suffered enormous losses. Residents have lost jobs as well suffered illness or injury, and many have simply moved away.

Those who are sticking it out in the region are hoping to get back on their feet with the payouts from their oil spill claims against the rig’s operator British Petroleum, but the going is painfully slow as complex legal wrangling gets in the way. If you are in this situation, you should get an experienced BP oil spill claims lawyer to help you out, or you may be waiting for nothing.