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Human rights group: BP discouraging crews from using respirators

By David Edwards
Friday, June 11, 2010 11:48 EDT
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BP’s logic seems to be that if the oil cleanup doesn’t look dangerous then it must not be. BP has told workers not to wear respirators because it’s bad for public relations, according to one human rights group.

Kerry Kennedy of the RFK Center traveled to the Gulf Coast to talk to cleanup workers and found that the oil company was trying to repress the use of safety equipment.

“In all three states that I’ve visited, fishermen said when they went out to work on the cleanup, that if they tried to bring respirators they were told it was unnecessary equipment and would only spread hysteria,” Kennedy told Fox News Friday.

“When I went out with eleven people, we had respitors on and within half an hour, all of our eyes were burning and our throats were closing and we all had headaches,” she explained.

Kennedy was also concerned that BP was refusing to release information about the contents of the dispersant being used.

“They’re basic human rights issues. The right to access of information. BP still will not say what the chemical makeup of the dispersants are so healthcare officials and victims can know why they’re sick and what’s going on with them,” Kennedy said.

And the health care options for workers who have fallen ill is a problem too.

“One of the things that we were told is that BP would not allow county health officials on to their campus. They finally allowed one nurse. They told workers that if they became sick, the nurse could only give them a Band-Aid or an aspirin. If they really felt sick they had to go to the BP doctors. So BP has completely control over the healthcare of those workers and what’s happening,” Kennedy told Fox host Eric Bolling.

“And no government health care down there at all?” asked Bolling.

Kennedy found that there was government health care but workers were reluctant to accept it. “The workers are concerned that this is the only job in town and if the go outside what BP tells them to do they might lose the only job they could get,” she said.

This video is from Fox News’ Fox & Friends, broadcast June 11, 2010.


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David Edwards
David Edwards
David Edwards has served as an editor at Raw Story since 2006. His work can also be found at Crooks & Liars, and he's also been published at The BRAD BLOG. He came to Raw Story after working as a network manager for the state of North Carolina and as as engineer developing enterprise resource planning software. Follow him on Twitter at @DavidEdwards.
 
 
 
 
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