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August 11, 2010


                Like most I was glad to know that a cap on the leaking oil  well below the Deepwater Horizon site has been successful and the gushing of oil and natural gas has stopped, but I was shocked to hear Carol Browner’s take on the status of the environment of the Gulf of Mexico while she was on” Meet The Press” this past Sunday. Carol Browner was appointed by President Obama as a “climate czar” and to over see the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. She stated that about 75% of all the oil spilled has been reclaimed, burned off or been dissolved by chemicals. That a great job had been done and all was left was to make the beaches clean and the areas of the marsh and estuaries. She said that the fisheries should soon be OK-ed to reopen and that to even prove how safe the seafood from the Gulf is President Obama will be serving some at the White House. I just can not believe that by all reports the largest oil spill in US history is 75% contained and that her other claim that the chemical dispersants haven’t effected the aquatic food chain. None of that makes sense to me. If the people working with these chemicals are instructed by the EPA to ware protective gear head to toe protective gear then how can it not be harmful and have long-lasting effects on the aquatic food chain? I felt I must know more, so I went looking for more information on this topic and found many conflicting views and I’ll share that with you but let me say this now almost every source I found ended with a similar statement but in varying degrees…..we really don’t have enough information about these chemicals to know just what the long-term effect will be on the environment, aquatic food chain or on the humans that have all in varying amounts and durations been exposed. I have selected to present information from one source from each side {non-harmful and harmful} and my link to the EPA site that has a ship load of down to the meat and bones of this issue including instructions to BP. That site is a must read if you really want to see the EPA at work, but you will need to pack a lunch there is a lot of information to read. Here is the EPA link:         

          The first source that I am using is from The Washington August 7, 2010  “Chemical dispersants in the Gulf of Mexico not hurting seafood, FDA says”   by Lyndsey Layton{} This article lists the chemical dispersant used was “Corexit” {not noted in this article is that there are two forms and that can be found on the EPA link} manufactured by Nalco Holding and the formula had been a trade secret until the EPA mandated disclosure. The general contents are : propylene glycol {OK by the FDA for use in food, medications, cosmetics and even toothpaste}, 2-butoxyethanol {used in cleaners, liquid soaps,cosmetics and is to quickly degrade into the environment} and the rest is said to be of a proprietary formula of sulfonic acid salts {moderately toxic to fresh water fish and invertebrates but it too is supposed to degrade quickly}. Also volatile organic solvents made from crude oil…. all of which the FDA says that none of it poses a threat to public health as they feel there isn’t a significant accumulation in the tissues of the fish and shellfish. As a matter of fact the FDA believes this so strongly that they are not even testing the fish and shellfish for residuals of these chemicals instead they are only doing their “smell testing” {yes that is just what you think it is….people who have been trained to sniff the fish and shellfish} and lab testing for oil contamination. I am speaking for myself here but I don’t fully trust the FDA. They don’t have a stellar track record.          

          The second source was from the PROPUBLICA April 30, 2010 “Chemical Meant To Break Up BP Oil Spill Presents New Environmental Concerns” by Abrahm Lustgarten {} This article does say that some forms of the chemical dispersants have been found in shellfish and fish and poses great risk to humans. That these same chemicals used in the Exxon Valdez was linked to respiratory illness, nervous system damage, liver, kidney and even blood disorders. To me this makes sense as the EPA mandates protective gear be used.    

          BP used 1.8 million gallons of Corexit in the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. That is a large amount of chemicals. This is what BP is admitting to using. They say their last use was on July 19, 2010. If you read the reports on the link for the EPA you will find that BP hasn’t been as transparent as they claim to have been. It’s been like pulling teeth from a stubborn tight-lipped old mule.  But this isn’t news, big companies always do their best to keep bad publicity down. Usually by way of money… to look the other way… for experts to tow the company line that all is well…… and after long drawn out battles of denial of responsibility money to pay off people harmed, but they must agree to non-disclosure. We would know more about long-term effects from these chemicals if the many people who worked on the Exxon Valdez clean up in 1989 could share their health records, but not long ago those still alive reached a settlement for their injuries only they had to agree to a non-disclosure as part of the terms of that settlement.  The EPA has told BP that they must continue to do testing. Now that doesn’t sound right to me either. I can’t trust them… can you? Should we trust them? Have they earned our trust? What makes more sense to me is to have a third-party to monitor these operations for safety and compliance. Someone that has no investment in the operation. Oh wait, that sounds like the Minerals Management’s job……OK that’s a whole other story sorry!    

          Two other things that bothers me about the claim that 75% of the oil can be accounted for and that the beaches, marsh and estuaries are the areas now that need to be cleaned up and then back to business. And only thing left will be “making BP be held accountable” and just what that means, I don’t know because everyone in the government that states this adds “but it’s not my department’s decision.” hmm? Ms. Browner stated that there wasn’t oil left in the water ….collected, burned or chemically removed…. so why are “tar balls” still washing onto the beaches? Magic?    

          After all my reading, I tend to believe that the impact on our environment including human and aquatic food chain have been and will continue to be effected from this oil spill and the use of chemical dispersants. What stands out is that most everyone states they don’t have enough information to know or even project long-term effects. Oh yeah, except the FDA who states there isn’t any long-term effects to the aquatic food chain.          

           I’ll leave you to ponder these points and hope you will join me in keeping those great and small effected by this tragedy in our thoughts and prayers and that you feel a sweet cool breeze on your brow and the warm sunshine on your back until our paths cross again….. Lila 

2 Comments leave one →
  1. mervulon permalink
    August 19, 2010 10:45 pm

    Wow. I think I love you.

    • August 20, 2010 1:31 am

      Aww, well thank you and I bet you say that to everyone…..LOL….

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