UMass Lowell Sends Team to Gulf

08/08/2010
By By Rita Savard, Lowell Sun

It took about six weeks following the BP oil spill for workers cleaning up beaches along the Gulf of Mexico to start falling ill.

Warnings had gone out for cleanup crews to wear protective gear. But many didn't get the warning soon enough. Several were rushed to the hospital and dozens have been reporting spill-related symptoms, mostly flu-like respiratory woes.

The New England Consortium at UMass Lowell, which is dedicated to worker health and safety training, sent its own team of experts to the region to teach workers how to protect themselves from the chemical stew they've been wading in. But UMass Lowell professor Michael Ellenbecker, an expert in occupational and environmental hygiene, said this kind of training is probably not reaching all workers in the rush to clear the greatest environmental disaster in U.S. history.

Read more about the TNEC team.