The 'Katrina of Smell' is Attacking News Orleans Thanks to BP Oil Spill

oil spill near new orleans nasa photo

Image: NASA, public domain.

A 'Gag-inducing' Fuel Smell: "my nose is now burning"

As if water and (no doubt soon to come) land pollution wasn't enough, the BP oil spill caused by an exploding oil rig is also causing some serious - and disgusting - air pollution. The Times-Picayune reports that the city has been overwhelmed by a "pungent smell", and there's little doubt that all these oil fumes are not only bad for your apetite, but also bad for your health.

noaa oil spill photo

Image: NOAA, public domain.

Health Officials Order Air Quality Testing

Air quality testing will be done continuously and with priority at the EPA labs to try to determine how bad things are and what measures should be taken. "State health officials advised that some people may be sensitive to changes in air quality, which can cause symptoms such as nausea, vomiting or headaches." Asthma sufferers are always more at risk in these situations, and they should avoid any strenuous outdoor activity and get medical advice if their symptoms do not improve.

One of Andrew Sullivan's readers sent him this report from New Orleans:

My wife and I just walked our dog for about 20 minutes and my nose is now burning, not terribly, but it is burning. And the reports are saying this oil well won't be capped for at least 4 weeks! If there hasn't been outrage yet, there will be when the oil slick actually reaches the shore. The air is going to be twice as bad especially when it gets hotter.

The only recommendations from health officials that I read were to "stay indoors' and "use air conditioning". What a crock. Help us raise some hell for someone to do something about this because having your air polluted like this can make you feel pretty helpless.

Photo: U.S. Coast Guard

This is definitely going to be another big blow to tourism in New Orleans; hard to play some jazz if your horn players are gagging every time they breathe in... Maybe HBO will do an episode of Treme about this some day.

In other news, a luncheon where the oil industry is giving away awards for "offshore drilling safety" has been postponed. BP was a finalist, apparently...

See also: Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill: The What, When and Where ...and How You Can Help

More on the Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill
BIG Oil Rig Explosion Off Louisiana Coast, 11 to 15 People Missing, Infernal Blaze
30+ Miles of Smoke: Satellite Photos Show Smoke Plume From Burning Oil Rig [Update: It Sunk]
Oil Leaks Caused by Sunk Exploration Rig Could Take Months to Stop, Even With Robots
Burn It?! Coast Guard Now Considering Setting Oil Slick on Fire. What Are the Pros & Cons?
Obama Bans New Offshore Drilling Until Investigation on Gulf Spill Complete

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