Last week, the LA Times reported that local fishermen hired by BP to clean up the Gulf Coast spill had “become ill after working long hours near waters fouled with oil and dispersant.” Especially galling was the fact that one of the fishermen said that the company hadn’t provided them with any protective equipment, like gloves. Now, John Wunstell, Jr., one of the fishermen who became sick with “nosebleeds, an upset stomach, and aches,” is filing a restraining order against BP, citing the treatment he faced from the company after he went to the hospital:
“At West Jefferson, there were tents set up outside the hospital, where I was stripped of my clothing, washed with water and several showers, before I was allowed into the hospital,” Wunstell said. “When I asked for my clothing, I was told that BP had confiscated all of my clothing and it would not be returned.”
The restraining order requests that BP refrain from “altering, testing or destroying clothing or any other evidence or potential evidence” when workers become ill.
BP CEO Tony Hayward has tried to downplay the sicknesses, attributing them to food poisoning. However, Dr. Michael Osterholm, a professor at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health, has said that Hayward’s explanation sounds fishy, explaining that the fishermens’ symptoms are more in line with a respiratory illness. On Friday, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius called on BP to provide treatment for clean-up workers who become sick. (HT: scorpiorising at DailyKos)