Lung Association Seeks Action to Protect Oil Spill Cleanup Workers

(June 4, 2010)

The American Lung Association is very concerned about the respiratory impact on the workers on and near the Gulf from the emissions from the BP oil spill and the cleanup response. The Environmental Protection Agency has been diligent in monitoring and sharing information on the onshore levels of pollution from the spill and cleanup. However, we are concerned that the cleanup workers are not getting appropriate protection, nor are air pollution levels for workers being appropriately monitored and publicly disclosed.

In response, the American Lung Association has sent a letter to Secretary of Labor, Hilda Solis. The letter urges swift action to monitor air pollution levels and to assure that all workers near and at the spill site are properly trained, equipped with appropriate respirators and protected from dangerous air pollutants and toxics they may inhale.

The American Lung Association will be monitoring this situation closely and will be actively engaged with federal and state officials to ensure that the lung health of those affected by the Gulf oil spill is protected.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) states that if workers are "unsure or think your work is unsafe, STOP and ASK your supervisor" or contact OSHA at 1-800-321-OSHA (6742)."

If you feel you may have been exposed to harmful emissions from the spill, contact your healthcare provider to address any symptoms you may have. To keep up to date about the air quality in your region visit www.epa.gov.