SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 News) – 14 months after the Red Butte oil spill, Chevron and Salt Lake City settled their financial claims. The cleanup is mostly done, but there are major health concerns for the future. The concerns are in the dirt, what did Chevron not get? Some Salt Lake City residents say they have already gotten sick and one local doctor tells ABC4 there could be more problems coming.
Alyssa Kay lived right across from Liberty Park when the spill happened. She told ABC4 the morning of the spill, her son got sick. Kay said, “He had been perfectly healthy the day before and he woke up that morning just so sick.”
Kay says the oil is to blame and a few weeks after the spill, the oil fumes were just too much and she moved.
Kay told ABC4, “I was exposed myself and I had severe headaches over the following 3 months. I’m concerned about my own health but as a mom, I’m really focused on my son.”
She may have moved, but Kay believes there are concerns for long term problems from the oil. We are talking about carcinogens left behind along the creek, they could cause cancer.
Dr. Brian Moench is the president of Utah Physicians for a Healthy Environment. He sees a potential for huge problems now and in the future. Dr. Moench said, “There are medical studies to suggest even brief exposure to oil can have long term consequences like cancer.”
Dr. Moench believes we have a bigger problem than making sure there is no residual oil along the creek. The problem could be with us for years. When asked if we have the potential to see a cancer cluster, he said yes. Dr. Moench said, “Decades down the road we will have that sort of lingering concern.”
The Utah River Council wants a health study to figure out what has and could happen to people who were exposed to the oil. But with the 4.5 million dollar settlement between Chevron and Salt Lake City, that won’t happen.
Zach Frankel from the Utah River Council said, “Because there is no money to study their health – there will be no correlation in the future.”
No idea about the potential problems, and no responsibility.
Kay said, “I don’t want to be dealing with this 20 years from now.”
ABC4 has spoken to Salt Lake City; they said their environmental team is still monitoring the situation. If anyone believes they have a problem, they ask you to call the city directly.