Al Jazeera: BP dispersants ‘causing sickness’

This article from Al Jazeera contradicts the ‘everything is contained and well’ official US government version of the state of the Gulf of Mexico. Not that Al Jazeera would be the only news source that points out that which shouldn’t have to be pointed out: Corexit is highly toxic!

Here’s an excerpt of the Al Jazeera piece, which is highly recommended reading:

Two-year-old Gavin Tillman of Pass Christian, Mississippi, has been diagnosed with severe upper respiratory, sinus, and viral infections. His temperature has reached more than 39 degrees since September 15, yet his sicknesses continue to worsen.

His parents, some doctors, and environmental consultants believe the child’s ailments are linked to exposure to chemicals spilt by BP during its Gulf of Mexico oil disaster.

Gavin’s father, mother, and cousin, Shayleigh, are also facing serious health problems. Their symptoms are being experienced by many others living along the coast of the Gulf of Mexico.

Widely banned toxic dispersants

Injected with at least 4.9 million barrels of oil during the BP oil disaster of last summer, the Gulf has suffered the largest accidental marine oil spill in history. Compounding the problem, BP has admitted to using at least 1.9 million gallons of widely banned toxic dispersants (one that has been banned in the UK), which according to chemist Bob Naman, create an even more toxic substance when mixed with crude oil. And dispersed, weathered oil continues to flow ashore daily.

Naman, who works at the Analytical Chemical Testing Lab in Mobile, Alabama, has been carrying out studies to search for the chemical markers of the dispersants BP used to both sink and break up its oil.

According to Naman, poly-aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) from this toxic mix are making people sick. PAHs contain compounds that have been identified as carcinogenic, mutagenic, and teratogenic.

Fisherman across the four states most heavily affected by the oil disaster – Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida – have reported seeing BP spray dispersants from aircraft and boats offshore.

“The dispersants are being added to the water and are causing chemical compounds to become water soluble, which is then given off into the air, so it is coming down as rain, in addition to being in the water and beaches of these areas of the Gulf,” Naman added.

“I’m scared of what I’m finding. These cyclic compounds intermingle with the Corexit [dispersants] and generate other cyclic compounds that aren’t good. Many have double bonds, and many are on the EPA’s danger list. This is an unprecedented environmental catastrophe.”

Commercial fisherman Donny Matsler also lives in Alabama.

“I was with my friend Albert, and we were both slammed with exposure,” Matsler explained of his experience on August 5, referring to toxic chemicals he inhaled that he believes are associated with BP’s dispersants. “We both saw the clumps of white bubbles on the surface that we know come from the dispersed oil.”

It looks like what has been widely feared and predicted – outside the mainstream media, that is – is now materialising, as Rawstory wrote back in September 2010:

A major potential long-term health concern left in the wake of BP’s catastrophic oil spill is the nearly two million gallons of dispersant sprayed over and pumped into the Gulf, scientists say. Much of it was injected into the sea beneath its surface, which made both the amount used, and its use, unprecedented.

In interviews, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and FDA officials repeatedly told Raw Story that dispersant “does not bioaccumulate” in seafood and therefore is not toxic to humans. The two dispersants used during the oil spill, Corexit 9527 and Corexit 9500, contain many ingredients “found in common household products.” And even though there is still no chemical test to detect dispersant in Gulf seafood – though officials said one is coming very soon – sensory tests are effective down to one part per million.

The article goes on to point out that the officials later on admitted that their optimism wasn’t founded on scientifically proven knowledge at all, but never mind, everything is okay. While the concern about the food chain have been around for some time, there seems to be a more direct threat. I’ll repeat part of the paragraph from the Al Jazeera article cited above:

“The dispersants are being added to the water and are causing chemical compounds to become water soluble, which is then given off into the air, so it is coming down as rain, in addition to being in the water and beaches of these areas of the Gulf,” Naman added.

“I’m scared of what I’m finding. These cyclic compounds intermingle with the Corexit [dispersants] and generate other cyclic compounds that aren’t good. Many have double bonds, and many are on the EPA’s danger list. This is an unprecedented environmental catastrophe.”

Oil slick map

Oil slick map

So, the toxic stuff will be in the air you breathe, the water you drink and the food you eat. However, according to government, everything is okay. Nothing to see here, move on. I wonder if the prediction scientists made about the oil slick moving with the ocean currents also applies to this oil/water/dispersant mix?

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