The gulf oil spill's toxic legacy, The Age, February 26, 2011:
Michael Boatright, 53... has been diving in the gulf since he was 17. From last June to September, he dove as usual about once a week, in areas the federal government had declared safe and open for fishing. ''We didn't think there was much risk,'' he says. ''The water looked good, looked clean.''
In September he started experiencing dizziness and blurred vision, then vertigo and palpitations. By October he was passing blood and had severe nosebleeds. ''At first I was in denial,'' he says. ''I'm broke now, and like most fishermen don't have healthcare. But I was a paramedic for 25 years and I knew this was serious and abnormal.''
Last month he had his blood tested. The results showed extremely high levels of chemicals such as xylene and ethylbenzene, highly toxic carcinogens found in crude oil.
According to chemist Dr Wilma Subra, whose lab ran the test on Boatright and two of his diving partners, all three had the same results, and the mix of chemicals was an ''exact fingerprint'' for those identified when they tested samples of the BP crude erupting from the ocean floor.
Read the report here.