Gulf Oil Spill Illness: 7 Workers Hospitalized, Believe Chemicals Used On Oil Made Them Sick

07/27/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

NEW ORLEANS -- Seven workers helping to clean up the Gulf oil spill remain hospitalized after they reported dizziness, headaches and nausea while working on boats off the Louisiana coast.

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

Alfonso 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. It was not clear whether boats had returned Thursday.