Quick Hit: Reproductive Health impacts of the BP Oil Spill

Kimberley Inez McGuire blogs at RH Reality Check about the chemical pollutants that have been affecting the Gulf Region for years, and how the BP Oil Spill might just worsen the situation.

For decades, industrial waste and contamination in the Gulf states have been recognized for their role in causing health problems ranging from cancer to asthma. Residents have tested positive for exposure to some of the worst reproductive toxicants–chemicals that have been linked to infertility, miscarriage, low birth weight, low sperm count, and developmental and respiratory disorders for children exposed in utero. This contamination of the air, water, and soil is so severe, and its effects so widespread, that the 100-mile stretch of Louisiana communities between New Orleans and Baton Rouge is known by residents as “Cancer Alley.”
Louisiana’s Gulf coast and Mississippi River parishes are dotted with what are known in environmental justice parlance as “hot spots.” These communities are overburdened with more than their “fair” share of environmental contamination and resulting health problems. The sources of toxic chemicals in the environment can include chemical plants, power plants, toxic waste dumps, and landfills. In areas of concentrated and continuous toxic chemical exposure, the effects on reproductive health can be devastating, and persist across generations.

Go read the rest.

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  • Comrade Kevin

    We had to have a Pure Food and Drug Act in the early years of the Twentieth Century to stop a multitude of issues just like this. The problem these days is that so much stuff we purchase comes from countries who have labor practices and safety standards straight out of the 1880s in America.
    I’m not sure how you take that into account. Buying American or at least being an ethical consumer is difficult and expensive.

  • s mandisa

    Im not sure what part of the article you read, but the problem here is NOT that the US imports a lot of goods from China or India (2 of the biggest US importer of goods), but the problem is US-BASED ENVIRONMENTAL DEGRADATION and RACISM.
    I beg to differ but a huge problem in the southern parts of Louisiana (where I live and where I was raised) is environmental racism and the fact that our state AND federal government get many incentives from these multi-billion dollar chemical plants and oil refineries and that they are allowed to exist in majority low-income communities of color, not toxic products imported from other countries.
    Thank you Miriam and Kimberly for posting about the reproductive health impacts this will have on people in the Gulf Coast, not to mention how it will exasperate existing negative heath outcomes caused by displacement and/or past environmental degradation.