7 who had been working to clean up Gulf spill hospitalized with dizziness, headaches

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Seven workers helping to clean up the Gulf oil spill were hospitalized after they reported dizziness, headaches and nausea while working on boats off the Louisiana coast, though most of them were later released.

West Jefferson Medical Center spokeswoman Taslin Alfonzo said Thursday that doctors believe the likely cause is chemical irritation and dehydration from long hours working in the heat.

Alfonzo said the workers told doctors they believe chemicals used to break up the oil made them sick.

Authorities say the workers became ill Wednesday while cleaning up oil in Breton Sound, southeast of New Orleans.

Officials ordered all 125 commercial boats working the cleanup there to leave the area.