Oil Spill One Year Anniversary: Sick From the Spill?


MAYFLOWER, AR -- Saturday marks the one-year anniversary of the oil spill in Mayflower that dumped hundreds of thousands of crude oil into a residential neighborhood. 

"So you just take them and you squeeze your liquid down in there and you'll see it down at the bottom," explained Mayflower resident, Genevive Long, showing us the nebulizer she uses to help her breathing.  "It makes it into a mist and then you inhale it." 

Long says health problems for her and her family including bronchitis, upper respiratory infections, migraines and headaches started mounting shortly after the oil spill.  

On top of the nebulizer, that delivers steroids to her lungs, Long and her four kids are taking a slew of prescription meds.

"It's just a conglomerate of breathing medications just so we can live a normal daily life," said Long.

The family lives just steps away from Lake Conway.  Oil reached part of the lake and Long blames the spill for her family's health problems.

During the public meeting this week, Exxon Mobil representatives reiterated that according to government-verified air, water and soil samples, people's long-term health has never been threatened.

"When you're looking at what people are experiencing and what the data is showing, it's really important to take the two and combine them and see what is it that we're missing," said April Lane.
Lane is with the Faulkner County Citizens Advisory Committee, which has been working to bring attention to Mayflower residents who say their health has been affected.

"It's too hard for a doctor who has not had appropriate training to be able to step out on a limb... and correlate symptoms," said Lane.

While many people near the spill site are tangled in lawsuits and advised by lawyers not to speak with media, there are those that told us off camera that they feel fine.

But Long says that's little comfort to her family.

"It's been a struggle this last year," explained Long.

She hopes to win her own lawsuit so she can take her kids and leave town.

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