"The Arkansas Department of Health says people with dizziness, nausea and headaches have the option to leave, and it is their personal choice."
"For more than a month, residents of Mayflower, Ark. have been told not to worry about lingering fumes from a March 29 oil spill that shut down a neighborhood and forced the evacuation of 22 homes.
'Overall, air emissions in the community continue to be below levels likely to cause health effects for the general population,' Arkansas regulators wrote on a state-operated website that tracks Mayflower's air monitoring data.
Despite these reassurances, residents have suffered headaches, nausea and vomiting—classic symptoms of short-term exposure to the chemicals found in crude oil.
'Figuring out how to protect people after a disaster like this is very hard,' said Aaron Bernstein, a public health expert and associate director of Harvard's Center for Health and the Global Environment. "People living near the spill early on could definitely have gotten sick" from the concentrations present in the air."