Five Months After Oil Spill, Sickened Residents Finally Offered Free Health Assessments

Is it too little, too late?

That's the question Mayflower residents are asking now that the state is finally offering them access to free health assessments five months after a ruptured ExxonMobil pipeline emptied 210,000 gallons of heavy crude into their city 25 miles northwest of Little Rock.

Since the March 29 spill, many people have continued to suffer from dizziness, headaches, nausea and vomiting—classic symptoms of short-term exposure to the chemicals found in crude oil.

While 22 homes in the Northwoods subdivision were evacuated on that Good Friday afternoon, people who lived nearby were allowed to remain in their homes. If the smells or symptoms were too overwhelming, they could leave their homes voluntarily, they were told.

"Five months out is a little late, but people are still sick," said Ann Jarrell, who wasn't evacuated and is still suffering from respiratory problems. "I'll continue to scream from the tallest tree that we need help."

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