Chennai oil spill clean-up volunteers may suffer cancer: Doctors

The clean-up workers and the fishermen reported increased acute toxic systems, primarily that of eye-irritation and respiratory symptoms like throat irritation chest tightness and cough, mainly on the first two days after the oil spill

Chennai oil spill clean-up volunteers may suffer cancer: Doctors



Three weeks after the Chennai oil spill near Kamarajar Port, doctors have warned that those who helped clean the toxic sludge may suffer from serious health problems.

A fact-finding team, which included three doctors, met more than 50 people, who helped in the clean-up operations on February 7. “We came to know that many volunteers were participating in the oil clean-up process so we wanted to find out if there were appropriate steps taken for the safety of the volunteers,” said Dr Shruthee SG, a member of the fact-finding team, as per a report in
The News Minute
.

“The clean-up workers and the fishermen reported increased acute toxic systems, primarily that of eye-irritation and respiratory symptoms like throat irritation chest tightness and cough, mainly on the first two days after the oil spill,” she said.

In the long-term, she warned that the chemicals like BTX in the oil could lead to cancer.

She added that there is no estimate on the health effects on people who were involved in the early stages of the clean-up when exposure to the volatile chemicals was maximum.

Highlighting one of the major lapses in the clean-up, the fact-finding team pointed out that proper protective equipment was not provided to the workers.

While the clean-up ops may be complete, Dr Shruthee says it’s crucial that the government follow up on the health of the workers.