President Barack Obama says from the oil-stricken Gulf of Mexico that seafood from the region is safe to eat and announced a new coordinated effort to make sure it stays that way.
Mr. President what about the arsenic and other toxic chemicals in the water? Toxicologic synergy is of concern to the public and regulatory agencies because chemicals individually considered safe might pose unacceptable health or ecological risk when exposure is to a combination. Could that possibly be a definition of the current state of chemical combinations in the Gulf of Mexico? The term synergy coming from the ancient Greek word syn-ergos, συνεργός signifies a rudimentary idea of things ‘working together’.
Just how anyone in the sciences or government, currently dealing with the huge environmental disaster occurring in the Gulf of Mexico, can intimate all is well with the air we breathe, the food caught in those waters and eaten and the rain falling from the sky, is beyond my comprehension.
The toxic syndrome that is occurring there, will in time affect the entire planet. It will affect the local inhabitants immediately, and those working on the cleanup crews.
Next it will affect those a little further away who begin breathing the toxins carried on the air.
People who eat of the seafood caught in waters polluted from the oil gushing up, and the chemical dispersants will also be affected.
The toxic rains will devastate crops and water courses; hence the entire food chain becomes polluted.
Countries farther afield will feel the effects as soon as the ocean currents shares these toxins – around the world. It is NOT simply a local problem for the Gulf Coast.
Just this past week Imperial College London researchers published a study which found oil stops the ocean’s natural filtering process of arsenic. They said the arsenic then gets “magnified” up the food chain, as fish eat small amounts of the deadly poison and may eventually impact humans, researchers said.
Professor Mark Sephton said arsenic, which is found in seawater, was normally filtered out of the ocean when it combined with sediment on the sea floor.
“But oil spills stop the normal process because the oil combines with sediment and it leads to an accumulation of arsenic in the water over time,” he said. “Arsenic only needs to be a 10th of a part per billion to cause problems.”
He added: “Our study is a timely reminder that oil spills could create a toxic ticking time bomb, which could threaten the fabric of the marine ecosystem in the future.”
Prof Sephton called for a comprehensive mapping of arsenic levels around the world which would allow authorities to consider banning oil drilling in areas with dangerous levels of arsenic.
The findings were published this month in the journal Water Research
“We can’t accurately measure how much arsenic is in the Gulf at the moment because the spill is ongoing. However, the real danger lies in arsenic’s ability to accumulate, which means that each subsequent spill raises the levels of this pollutant in seawater. “
Wimolporn Wainipee, postgraduate and lead author of the study from the Department of Earth Science and Engineering at Imperial College London, adds:
“We carried out our study before the leak in the Gulf of Mexico occurred, but it gives us a big insight into a potential new environmental danger in the region. Thousands of gallons of oil are leaked into the world’s oceans every year from big spills, offshore drilling and routine maintenance of rigs, which means many places, may be at risk from rising arsenic levels, which could in the long run affect aquatic life, plants and the people who rely on the oceans for their livelihoods.”
Airborne toxins growing concern from Gulf of Mexico oil spill
A team of UCI scientists and researchers including Nobel Laureate chemist F. Sherwood Rowland, and UCI Chemistry Department Chair Donald Blake are testing and studying 400 air samples from recent plane flights and boat trips through the Gulf of Mexico spill area.
Dr. Blake and his team of researchers have detected concentrations of toxic chemicals such as alkyl nitrates, methane, hexane and butane compounds that can irritate or burn skin and eyes or cause dizziness.
The concentrations of certain chemicals exceed any they’ve found before, Blake says, including over Mexico City, Oklahoma oil tank farms and other heavily polluted urban areas. “This is more alkyl nitrates than we’ve ever seen,” says the professor of chemistry and Earth system science. “These are much higher levels than in Los Angeles.”’
Although the EPA is monitoring air quality in the area they are testing for different types of substances then the UCI team are. According to the group the EPA is monitoring mainly for soot and smog related pollutants. However the UCI team is looking for alkyl nitrates, methane, and hexane and butane compounds along with diesel soot particles or other pollutants linked to the burn-off of spilled oil. The UCI chemists are testing for several hundred possible airborne pollutants that could be present in the air directly over the spill or within the air columns and plumes that stretch for miles.
Blake and Rowland, Donald Bren Research Professor in chemistry and Earth system science, say they’re frustrated by insufficient funding and government coordination of air testing above the massive slick, particularly amid news reports about cleanup crews and oil workers feeling sick. Certain alkyl nitrates can irritate or burn skin and eyes, according to recent studies, and concentrated vapors can cause dizziness or suffocation.
If you`re living in the U.S., particularly within a thousand miles of the Gulf, you need to detoxify your body now. Here`s why: Crude oil is packed with a toxic chemical called benzene. Even in small amounts, benzene is associated with leukemia, Hodgkin`s Lymphoma and other serious blood and immune system diseases. The EPA`s “safe level” for benzene is 4 ppb (parts per billion) and benzene is being found in Gulf air at levels of 3,000 ppb. Crude oil is being smelled hundreds of miles away, and make no mistake, if you can smell oïl, you`re breathing highly toxic benzene.
With the oil, numerous toxic gases are also gushing from earth and gases that everyone near the Gulf is being exposed to include hydrogen sulfide and methylene chloride. The EPA`s allowable limit for hydrogen sulfide is 5-10 ppb (parts per billion), but on May 3rd air levels of 1,192 ppb were recorded. A former oil company CEO says these levels pose serious, even fatal, risks to adults and unborn children. Hydrogen sulfide acts like carbon monoxide and cyanide gases – it inhibits cellular respiration and oxygen uptake, and causes cellular suffocation. As for methylene chloride, the body changes it to carbon monoxide – and it`s known to cause liver damage, skin damage and cancer. The EPA`s safe level for methylene chloride is 61 ppb – and it`s being found in the air at levels of 3,000 ppb.
Most people know that the chemical dispersant BP is using is highly toxic. It`s so toxic that the EPA ordered BP to use a different and less toxic dispersant – an order which BP ignored. Currently, over a million gallons of these toxic chemicals have been dumped into our oceans. With the Exxon Valdez oil spill, the same dispersant caused serious respiratory, liver, nervous system, kidney and blood damage in people – and reports that clean up crews in the Gulf are falling ill are plenty. On the manufacturer`s label, it says that no toxicity testing has been done, but these chemicals being used in enormous and uncontained quantities are obviously very toxic.
All of this sounds bad, and it is, but here`s the kicker: as part of the earth`s interconnected ecosystem, rain water comes from the oceans. So, it shouldn`t be a surprise that scientists are predicting severe destruction across the U.S. from toxic rains – and it appears the first cases are being reported about 400 miles from the Gulf. In fact, hundreds of acres of Tennessee farm land are at risk.
The crops have small, raindrop-sized burn marks on them and while the mainstream media is reporting crop damage, they haven`t yet made the connection between the toxic, chemical-ridden rains and the potential crop failure. It`s being reported that these raindrop-sized burn marks are affecting everything in sight, and no plant is immune. Dead birds are also being found nearby. These crops may fail and if they do survive, it`s likely they`ll be toxic to consume because plants being watered with toxic chemicals will absorb those chemicals into their cells.
The US Government has promised transparency in all matters pertaining to the Gulf Disaster.
Maybe it is time to seek further assurances that the sea food is truly safe to eat, the air is truly safe to breathe and that the rains which are falling, supposedly to nourish the land, are not toxic at all. Assurances too that BP will pay your claims!! ……. And yes Virginia, there really is a Santa Claus.
A final word Mr. President: Are you feeding seafood from the Gulf of Mexico to your children? Are you going to send them down to the Gulf for a vacation, to play on the sand and breathe in the air? Will they go swimming in the warm waters also? This is what you and your team of advisors seem to be intimating to all the local residents – IT IS SAFE and all will be well!!
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