The Huffington Post

Arkansas Oil Spill Health Complaints Emerge In Mayflower

"I couldn't breathe. My throat and nose and eyes were burning really bad," recalled Appleman, who lives on Lake Conway, about a mile outside the 22-home evacuation zone -- but next to a slough now full of the thick, sticky diluted bitumen.
Lynne Peeples

After nine days of headaches, stomachaches and a persistent sore throat, Appleman's sleep was disturbed again on Monday night by what she perceived as a "strange noise" coming from the lake. She spotted three guys in a boat equipped with a computer and large video screen netting several dead fish from the popular fishing spot. According to Appleman, the men ignored her questions and shined a spotlight on her as she tried to take pictures from the shore with her iPhone.

"I can't figure out half of the stuff that is going on," said Appleman. "They haven't given us any answers."

ExxonMobil, owner of the ruptured Pegasus pipeline, maintains that none of the leaked Wabasca heavy crude mined from Canada's tar sands region has migrated into Lake Conway. The company also said air quality has remained safe for residents outside the immediate cleanup areas.

Nevertheless, health concerns are increasing. The local elementary school sent home eight children last week after they became ill breathing the petrochemical fumes. John Gray, Mayflower School District superintendent, told The Huffington Post that while an oil odor was obvious inside and outside the school building that day, air monitoring showed chemical levels were safe...