BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil spill is the largest toxic pollution site in U.S. history, but federal agencies are not measuring carcinogen levels in the resulting oil slicks, employees of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) told epiNewswire Friday.
Instead, BP is providing the EPA with the company’s own data — and that data is going unconfirmed by government labs.
The EPA and CDC both have world-class environmental chemistry labs.
But the neither agency is using those labs to determine the levels of carcinogens, like benzene, in the oil slicks in which thousands workers are attempting to clean up.
“That is not our responsibility,” CDC spokeswoman Bernadette Burden told epiNewswire. “The makeup of the crude, we’ve been told … BP is providing that type of information, giving that to the EPA. As well, BP’s providing information to OSHA about exposures for their contract workers.”
That assessment was consistent with comments from EPA employees familiar with the spill response, who reported that BP contractors were doing most chemical analysis and monitoring. There has been little contact between EPA scientists and BP, the agency employees also said.
CDC’s involvement with worker safety at this point is limited to a “rostering” project, Burden said.
“We are distributing and collecting a survey to individual volunteers (and) BP contract workers, so we can ID who they are, where they worked and how to get back in touch with them long-term,” Burden said.
In the World Trade Center and Exxon Valdez oil spill responses, no database was maintained of who the responders were and how to contact them for long-term health tracking, Burden said.