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Attorney General Says Concerns About Health Issues Related to Oil Spill Arise in Town Hall Meetings

By Rhonda Miller | Published 30 Mar 2011 05:41pm | comments
Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood at the Town Hall meeting in Biloxi to collect information on oil spill issues.

At a Town Hall meeting in Biloxi, Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood said people have been bringing new oil spill concerns and some old, frustrating ones. Hood and other legal organizations are collecting first-hand information in a series of meetings this week along the Gulf Coast.

Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood expected to hear complaints about BP oil spill claims being delayed or denied. But by the time he got to Biloxi, Hood found a new issue moving up on the priority list.

"One of the things that kind of startled me are the people that are concerned about breathing in the fumes, particularly last summer, the effects from it. Many are having effects and there are no doctors here that can really analyze whether it may be as a result of this oil explosion," Hood said.

The Attorney General said many of the medical concerns are documented.

"They come in with blood tests. They’re actually providing us with the blood tests they’ve already had done," Hood said. "They’re showing high levels of benzene and hydrocarbon chemicals that are causing ill effects."

Hood said he will look into the possibility of having the state health department or the Centers for Disease Control send a medical unit to the Gulf Coast to do some testing.

The Mississippi Center for Justice brought several attorneys to the town hall meeting to offer free legal services. The center’s managing attorney John Jopling said a common complaint is the inconsistency in the way claims are paid.

"We have examples of people who work side-by-side in the same seafood restaurant in Bay St. Louis and three workers will receive favorable determinations and two will receive an unfavorable determination," Jopling said.

Town Hall meetings were also held in Waveland, Gulfport and Pascagoula this week. 

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Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood at the Town Hall meeting in Biloxi to collect information on oil spill issues.


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