In the months that followed the 9/11 attacks many workers tasked with helping to comb through the wreckage and clean up the aftermath were not provided with the proper health and safety equipment. This lead to a number of reports, claims, and lawsuits. In the wake of the Gulf Oil spill, we have a chance to learn from those mistakes. That's why Burnt Orange Report has signed on with a number of state, coastal, and national partners to bring attention to the matter.
You can sign up to take action at www.BPMakesMeSick.com to add your voice to the coalition statement.
We cannot let the denial of protective gear that hurt so many 9/11 clean-up workers happen again with the Gulf clean-up workers.
President Obama and the federal government must demand that BP allow every clean-up worker who wants to wear respiratory protective equipment to do so -- and ensure that workers get the equipment and training they need to do their jobs safely.
In Texas, candidates Barbara Radnofsky, Lainey Melnick, John Lingenfelder Jr., as well as Ecology Action Texas & Texas Kaos have signed on. Neighboring state blogs like the Daily Kingfish in LA and Left in Alabama have signed on as well to the effort backed by the Progressive Change Campaign Committee and incumbent members of Congress like Alan Grayson and Jared Polis.
Lainey Melnick, Democratic candidate for TX-21, wrote the following in joining the cause.
It has been reported that BP fired or threatened to fire workers who voluntarily wore respirators to protect themselves from the unknown health risks of cleaning up the spill. Workers have reported health issues related to the clean-up since the spill began and have been seeking treatment through government-run clinics which the government has deemed off-limits to the press. The current law doesn't require BP, or any other employer, to allow workers to protect themselves even after the consequences of the 9/11 clean-up has come into light.
The following from Democrat Barabara Radnofsky highlights previous campaign arguments against her opponent Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott.
Should response workers rely on the Government's and BP's idea of safety? Or, should a response worker be allowed to wear a respirator in those situations where the worker, but not government or industry, believes the respirator is needed? The U.S. Government's "Guidance" for protecting the BP disaster workers is defective. It contains a defect regarding voluntary worker use of respirators. The guidelines assume an individual worker is wrong in wanting a health-protective respirator in situations others decide there's no inhalation hazard.
Reliance on the government's and BP's idea of safety is a mindset echoed by the Texas Attorney General in the 2 weeks after the Gulf disaster. On May 3, AG Greg Abbott held a press conference announcing BP, as of May 3, had made "all the right actions and all the right comments".
Now, the government admits studies on adverse health effects from oil spills, based on oil tanker disaster "may underestimate the health effects associated with the Deepwater Horizon."
Join with coastal bloggers, organizations, and candidates in calling for change from President Obama so we don't repeat the mistakes we made for clean-up workers 10 years ago after the last major national catastrophe.