Testing by Dr Subra has also revealed BP's chemicals are present "in coastal soil sediment, wetlands, and in crab, oyster and mussel tissues."
Pathways of exposure to the dispersants are inhalation, ingestion, and skin- and eye-contact. According to Dr Riki Ott, symptoms of exposure include headaches, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pains, chest pains, respiratory system damage, skin sensitization, hypertension, central nervous system depression, neuro-toxic effects, genetic mutations, cardiac arrhythmia, and cardiovascular damage. The chemicals can also cause birth defects, mutations and cancer.
Dr Ott, a toxicologist, marine biologist, and Exxon Valdez survivor, told Al Jazeera that these chemicals "evaporate in air and are easily inhaled, they penetrate skin easily, and they cross the placenta into fetuses. For example, 2-butoxyethanol [a chemical used in oil dispersant Corexit] is a human health hazard substance; it is a fetal toxin and it breaks down blood cells, causing blood and kidney disorders."
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"Solvents dissolve oil, grease, and rubber," Ott continued. "Spill responders have told me that the hard rubber impellers in their engines and the soft rubber bushings on their outboard motor pumps are falling apart and need frequent replacement. Given this evidence, it should be no surprise that solvents are also notoriously toxic to people, something the medical community has long known."
In March 2011, the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) launched a long-term health study of workers who helped clean up after BP's oil disaster.