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Gulf Oil and Gas Blowout Tragedy
Conservative estimates indicate that the 2010 BP oil blowout disaster released over 200 million gallons of oil into the Gulf, followed by at least 1.8 million gallons of dispersants. Research indicates that dispersants prevent the biodegradation of toxic oil components, as well as increasing dispersant absorption into fish from between 6 to 1100 fold higher levels. Since the event, both the mainstream media and the government have acted as if the oil disappeared, and that no significant health risks remain for the millions still consuming contaminated seafood from the Gulf. Now, a new study published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives has revealed that the 2010 BP Gulf oil disaster resulted in widespread contamination of Gulf Coast seafood with toxic components from crude oil.
In fact, levels of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in shrimp were found to exceed the FDA’s established thresholds for allowable levels (levels of concern) for pregnant women in up to 53% of Gulf shrimp sampled. PAHs are well-known carcinogens and developmental toxicants, which is why the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is obligated to set risk criteria and thresholds for allowable levels of exposure to them.
The first deep-water oil lease sale in the Gulf of Mexico since a blow-out spewed at least 5 million barrels of crude has netted the U.S. Treasury $337.6 million. Included is $27.4 million for 11 leases from BP, the British energy conglomerate. Although the blow-out occurred in a well owned by BP, the company did nothing wrong and there are no after-effects of any kind whatsoever to worry our pretty little heads about. It was all somebody else's fault anyway. And something like that could never ever ever happen again. Because BP is careful now. And there is no reason to get nasty.
When oil and Corexit are combined, the mixture becomes up to 52 times more toxic than oil alone, according to a study published online this week in the journal Environmental Pollution. "There is a synergistic interaction between crude oil and the dispersant that makes it more toxic," said Terry Snell, a study co-author and biologist at Georgia Tech. Using dispersants breaks up the oil into small droplets and makes it less visible, but, "on the other hand, makes it more toxic to the planktonic food chain," Snell told LiveScience. That mixture of dispersant and oil in the gulf would've wreaked havoc on rotifers, which form the base of the marine food web, and their eggs in seafloor sediments, Snell said.
"The levels in the gulf were toxic, and seriously toxic," Snell said. "That probably put a big dent in the planktonic food web for some extended period of time, but nobody really made the measurements to figure out the impact." The dispersant makes the oil more deadly by decreasing the size of the droplets, making it more "bio-available" to small organisms, said Ian MacDonald, a researcher at Florida State University. "The effect is specifically a toxic synergy — the sum is worse than the parts," said MacDonald.
This is one of the first studies to look at the impact of the oil-dispersant mixture on plankton. A decline in populations of plankton could impact larger animals all the way up to whales, he said. In general, plankton can rebound quickly, although the toxicity to larvae in sediments is concerning, since it reduces the size of the next generation. This ocean-bottom oil slurry could also have impacted other species that spend part of their life cycles here like algae and crustaceans.
The results contrast with those released by the Environmental Protection Agency in August 2010. That study found that a mixture of oil and Corexit isn't more toxic than oil alone to both a species of shrimp and species of fish. However, several studies have found the mixture is more toxic than oil to the embryos of several fish species. "To date, EPA has done nothing but congratulate itself on how Corexit was used and avow they would do it the same way again," MacDonald said.
However, Snell said the dispersant should not be used. It would be better to let the oil disperse on its own to minimize ecological damage, he said. "This is a cautionary tale that we need to do the science before the emergency happens so we can make decisions that are fully informed," Snell said. "In this case, the Corexit is simply there to make the oil disperse and go out of sight. But out of sight doesn't mean it's safe in regard to the food web." "It's hard to sit by and not do something," Snell said. "But in this case, doing something actually made it more toxic."
Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) has accused the Obama administration of deliberately misleading the public about how much oil gushed from the ruptured BP well in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010. Using the Freedom of Information Act, PEER obtained an email from a top administration official that revealed that the White House was pressuring top government scientists to low-ball the oil flow rate. In late May 2010, Dr. Marcia McNutt, director of the U.S. Geologic Survey and head of the government’s Flow Rate Technical Group, wrote to scientists who complained about the misleading information coming out of the White House about the crisis.
“I cannot tell you what a nightmare the past two days have been dealing with the communications people at the White House…,” McNutt wrote. “The press release that went out on our results was misleading and was not reviewed by a scientist for accuracy.” She went on to give examples: “Let me give you a flavor of some of the ‘suggestions’ I was getting from the National Intelligence Council and from the communications people at the White House and Department of the Interior as to how to ‘simplify’ our bottom line: From a NIC Admiral: How about just saying that the range of flow rates is 12,000 to 25,000 barrels per day? (No, because the 25,000 is a LOWER bound, not an UPPER bound….) From a White House communications person: How about saying that several lines of evidence suggest that the flow is 12,000 to 19,000 barrels per day but that the rate could be as high as 25,000 barrels per day? (No, because the 25,000 is a LOWER bound, not an UPPER bound…).” President Barack Obama’s top aides publically insisted that at worst, about 25,000 barrels of oil a day were spewing from the well. Later, it was revealed that the rate was more than 50,000 barrels a day.
Most of the oil that began to flow into the waters of the Gulf of Mexico did not come from Leaks 1 and 2, but from a third Well that BP hid from the public record. The 3rd Well, research shows, could have been blown out by an explosive detonation. Geo-hazards expert BK Lim and the other experts spent hundreds of hours reviewing and analyzing video footage and documents and found many anomalies and contradicting information which revealed carelessness or simply blatant lies in the official testimonies. According to Lim’s analysis, some of the statements regarding what happened on April 20, 2010 in the Gulf of Mexico are physically impossible.
This conclusion was reached after discovering multiple examples of explicit editing of the footage provided by BP. This pre-edited video was the one used during congressional hearings and sent to the media during the investigation process. As it was found, someone carefully spliced video clips to alter dates, times and locations, which made it hard for investigators to make sense of it all or to determine what the cause of the disaster really was. As a consequence, it was almost impossible to challenge BP’s testimony. Mr. Lim, unlike congressional and other experts did carefully analyze images of pipes, risers, blowout preventers and seabed conditions that in some cases were a mile under the surface of the Gulf waters. Given his 30 years of experience and the work he performed for 5 different large oil companies, Mr. Lim had no difficulty assessing and realizing the contradictions.
Geologist Rip Kirby examined the skin of a graduate student who swam in the gulf and then showered.
Under regular light, his skin seemed clean, but ultraviolet light revealed orange blotches — dispersant-mixed oil.
Since April 20, 2010, BP began the release of at least 4.9 million barrels of oil. BP then used at least 1.9 million gallons of toxic Corexit dispersants to sink the oil. There are numerous signs that the worst-case scenario may be playing out:
- New York Times: “Gulf Dolphins Exposed to Oil Are Seriously Ill, Agency Says
- MSNBC: Gulf shrimp scarce this season (and see the Herald Tribune‘s report)
- Mother Jones: Eyeless shrimp are being found all over the Gulf
-Pensacola News Journal: “Sick fish” archive
- Agence France Presse: Mystery illnesses plague Louisiana oil spill crews
- MSNBC: Exclusive: Submarine Dive Finds Oil, Dead Sea Life at Bottom of Gulf of Mexico
- AP: BP oil spill the culprit for slow death of deep-sea coral, scientists say (and see the Guardian and AFP‘s write ups)
- A recent report also notes that there are flesh-eating bacteria in tar balls of BP oil washing up on Gulf beaches
- And all of that lovely Corexit dispersant sprayed on water, land and air inhibits the ability of microbes to break down oil, and allows oil and other chemicals to be speed past the normal barriers of human skin. Background here. NYT: Impact of Gulf Spill’s Underwater Dispersants Is Examined. Speaking on the chemical ingredients of the dispersants used, “The report finds that “Of the 57 ingredients: 5 chemicals are associated with cancer; 33 are associated with skin irritation from rashes to burns; 33 are linked to eye irritation; 11 are or are suspected of being potential respiratory toxins or irritants; 10 are suspected kidney toxins; 8 are suspected or known to be toxic to aquatic organisms; and 5 are suspected to have a moderate acute toxicity to fish.”
“The fishermen have never seen anything like this,” Dr Jim Cowan said. “And in my 20 years working on red snapper, looking at somewhere between 20 and 30,000 fish, I’ve never seen anything like this either.” Dr Cowan, with Louisiana State University’s Department of Oceanography and Coastal Sciences started hearing about fish with sores and lesions from fishermen in November 2010. Cowan’s findings replicate those of others living along vast areas of the Gulf Coast that have been impacted by BP’s oil and dispersants.
Gulf of Mexico fishermen, scientists and seafood processors have said they are finding disturbing numbers of mutated shrimp, crab and fish that they believe are deformed by chemicals released during BP’s 2010 oil disaster. Along with collapsing fisheries, signs of malignant impact on the regional ecosystem are ominous: horribly mutated shrimp, fish with oozing sores, underdeveloped blue crabs lacking claws, eyeless crabs and shrimp – and interviewees’ fingers point towards BP’s oil pollution disaster as being the cause.
Bicarbonate and Magnesium Emergency Medical Baths
Simply put, there is nothing like a hot soak in a magnesium chloride bath with bicarbonate before bed. Such soaks are heaven on earth for people who suffer from insomnia and the feelings of restlessness in the limbs. The same goes for magnesium massages where someone rubs magnesium oil directly into the body. It turns out that these kinds of casual treatments can be intensified to the point of being full-blown medical treatments. For emergency purposes, 1 to 5 pounds of bicarbonate (for children much less) can be used as long as that amount is balanced with magnesium salts found in Dead Sea salt, Epsom salts and magnesium chloride bath flakes (1 to 5 pounds as well).
The United States government should organize a worldwide effort to provide to the citizens of the Gulf area large tonnages of sodium bicarbonate and magnesium salts. Clay also should be provided for both internal and external cleansing. The same goes for glutathione suppositories, which should also be taken instantly upon symptom onset, and plenty of spirulina should be on hand and taken regularly. The key to avoiding long-term harm is to help the body deal with the chemical assault at the very moment one notices foul smell, foul taste or flu-like symptoms.
If you are feeling any of the symptoms being reported in the Gulf region emergency, sodium bicarbonate medical baths should be immediately initiated if you want to neutralize the hazardous toxicity. For emergency purposes, 1 to 5 pounds of bicarbonate (for children much less) can be used as long as that amount is balanced with magnesium salts found in Dead Sea salt, Epsom salts and magnesium chloride bath flakes (1 to 5 pounds as well).
The United States government should organize a worldwide effort to provide to the citizens of the Gulf area large tonnages of sodium bicarbonate and magnesium salts. Clay also should be provided for both internal and external cleansing. The same goes for glutathione suppositories, which should also be taken instantly upon symptom onset, and plenty of spirulina should be on hand and taken regularly. The key to avoiding long-term harm is to help the body deal with the chemical assault at the very moment one notices foul smell, foul taste or flu-like symptoms.
Sodium Bicarbonate to the Rescue
Baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) is the ultimate heavyweight workhorse medicine that every healthcare professional and parent should use to diminish toxic poisoning from the Gulf disaster. Combining this with other strong but basic natural substances like magnesium chloride, selenium and iodine offers us the best chance of weathering the toxic storm that continues to build over the Gulf region.
Sodium bicarbonate is the number-one item in any protocol to treat exposure to harsh chemicals coming from the oil disaster. The government should step in to direct supplies of bicarbonate into the area. Millions of pounds should be immediately distributed and stockpiled since supplies at the local supermarket are not going to last long when the public catches on to the danger and what to do about it. The very best treatment, when one first notices a foul smell, foul taste or flu-like symptoms, is to jump into a bath with several pounds of bicarbonate and magnesium salts.
Commercial fishers from Barataria, Louisiana, are finding eyeless shrimp. At the height of the last white shrimp season, in September 2011, one fisherman caught 400 pounds of these eyeless shrimp. At least 50 per cent of the shrimp caught in that period in Barataria Bay, a popular shrimping area that was heavily impacted by BP’s oil and dispersants, were eyeless. Disturbingly, not only do the shrimp lack eyes, they even lack eye sockets. Some shrimpers are catching these out in the open Gulf of Mexico. They are also catching them in Alabama and Mississippi. They are also finding eyeless crabs, crabs with their shells soft instead of hard, full grown crabs that are one-fifth their normal size, clawless crabs, and crabs with shells that don’t have their usual spikes … they look like they’ve been burned off by chemicals.
Fishers have reported seeing the brown shrimp catch drop by two-thirds, and so far the white shrimp have been wiped out. The shrimp are immune compromised. They are finding shrimp with tumors on their heads, and are seeing this everyday. Other fishermen say they had seen shrimp with defects on their gills, and their shells missing around their gills and head. “We’ve fished here all our lives and have never seen anything like this,” they say.
Also seen were crates of blue crabs, all of which were lacking at least one of their claws. Others report finding crabs “with holes in their shells, shells with all the points burned off so all the spikes on their shells and claws are gone, misshapen shells, and crabs that are dying from within … they are still alive, but you open them up and they smell like they’ve been dead for a week.”
Some are finding female shrimp with their babies still attached to them, and shrimp with oiled gills. They are also seeing fish without covers over their gills, and others with large pink masses hanging off their eyes and gills. Some say their seafood catch last year was “ten per cent what it normally is. Given that the Gulf of Mexico provides more than 40 per cent of all the seafood caught in the continental US, this phenomenon does not bode well for the region, or the country.
The dispersants used in BP’s draconian experiment contain solvents, such as petroleum distillates and 2-butoxyethanol. Solvents dissolve oil, grease, and rubber. It should be no surprise that solvents are also notoriously toxic to people, something the medical community has long known. The dispersants are known to be mutagenic, a disturbing fact that could be evidenced in the seafood deformities. Shrimp, for example, have a life-cycle short enough that two to three generations have existed since BP’s disaster began, giving the chemicals time to enter the genome.
Pathways of exposure to the dispersants are inhalation, ingestion, skin, and eye contact. Health impacts can include headaches, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pains, chest pains, respiratory system damage, skin sensitisation, hypertension, central nervous system depression, neurotoxic effects, cardiac arrhythmia and cardiovascular damage. They are also teratogenic – able to disturb the growth and development of an embryo or fetus – and carcinogenic. Chemicals named polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), released from BP’s submerged oil, are likely to blame for what is being found, due to the fact that the fish with lesions are from a wide spatial distribution that is spatially coordinated with oil from the Deepwater Horizon, both surface oil and subsurface oil. A lot of the oil that impacted Louisiana was also in subsurface plumes, and there is a lot of it remaining on the seafloor.
Marine scientist Samantha Joye of the University of Georgia published results of her submarine dives around the source area of BP’s oil disaster in the Nature Geoscience journal. Her evidence showed massive swathes of oil covering the seafloor, including photos of oil-covered bottom dwelling sea creatures. While showing slides at an American Association for the Advancement of Science annual conference in Washington, Joye said: “This is Macondo oil on the bottom. These are dead organisms because of oil being deposited on their heads.”
Dr Wilma Subra, a chemist and Macarthur Fellow, has conducted tests on seafood and sediment samples along the Gulf for chemicals present in BP’s crude oil and toxic dispersants. “Tests have shown significant levels of oil pollution in oysters and crabs along the Louisiana coastline,” Subra told Al Jazeera. “We have also found high levels of hydrocarbons in the soil and vegetation.”
According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, PAHs “are a group of semi-volatile organic compounds that are present in crude oil that has spent time in the ocean and eventually reaches shore, and can be formed when oil is burned.” “The fish are being exposed to PAHs, and I was able to find several references that list the same symptoms in fish after the Exxon Valdez spill, as well as other lab experiments,” explained Cowan. “There was also a paper published by some LSU scientists that PAH exposure has effects on the genome.”
The University of South Florida released the results of a survey whose findings showed a two to five per cent infection rate in the same oil impact areas, and not just with red snapper, but with more than 20 species of fish with lesions. In many locations, 20 percent of the fish had lesions, and later sampling expeditions found areas where, alarmingly, 50 per cent of the fish had them. NOAA [National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration] found one tenth of one percent with sores prior to 2010. It's nothing like that seen with these secondary infections and at this high of rate since the spill. It’s attributable to chronic exposure to PAHs released in the process of weathering of oil on the seafloor. There’s no other thing that can explain this phenomenon. Scientists have never seen anything like this before.
They have found seafood with lesions, missing appendages, and other abnormalities. There is an even higher incidence of shell disease with crabs in deeper waters. The question is did we alter microbial populations in the vicinity of the well by introducing this massive amount of petroleum and in so doing cause microbes to attack things other than oil? One hypothesis is that the waxy coatings around crab shells are being impaired by anthropogenic chemicals or microbes resulting from such chemicals. You can see them with big black lesions, around where their appendages fall off, and all that is left is a big black ring. There is also a much lower diversity of crustaceans. We don’t have the same number of species as we did before the spill. They're also finding “odd staining” of animals that burrow into the mud that cause stain rings, consistent with mineral deposits, possibly from microbial populations in overly high concentrations.
Dr Andrew Whitehead, an associate professor of biology at Louisiana State University, co-authored the report Genomic and physiological footprint of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill on resident marsh fishes that was published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in October 2011. Whitehead’s work is of critical importance, as it shows a direct link between BP’s oil and the negative impacts on the Gulf’s food web evidenced by studies on killifish before, during and after the oil disaster. “What we found is a very clear, genome-wide signal, a very clear signal of exposure to the toxic components of oil that coincided with the timing and the locations of the oil.” According to Whitehead, the killifish is an important indicator species because they are the most abundant fish in the marshes, and are known to be the most important forage animal in their communities. “That means that most of the large fish that we like to eat actually feed on the killifish,” he explained. “So if there were to be a big impact on those animals, then there would probably be a cascading effect throughout the food web. I can’t think of a worse animal to knock out of the food chain than the killifish.” But we may well be witnessing the beginnings of this worst-case scenario. Whitehead is predicting that there could be reproductive impacts on the fish, and since the killifish is a “keystone” species in the food web of the marsh, “Impacts on those species are more than likely going to propagate out and effect other species. What this shows is a very direct link from exposure to DWH oil and a clear biological effect. And a clear biological effect that could translate to population level long-term consequences.”
Ed Cake, a biological oceanographer, as well as a marine and oyster biologist, has “great concern” about the hundreds of dolphin deaths he has seen in the region since BP’s disaster began, which he feels are likely directly related to the BP oil disaster. “Adult dolphins’ systems are picking up whatever is in the system out there, and we know the oil is out there and working its way up the food chain through the food web – and dolphins are at the top of that food chain.” Cake explained: “The chemicals then move into their lipids, and then when they are pregnant, their young rely on this fat, and so it’s no wonder dolphins are having developmental issues and still births.” Cake, who lives in Mississippi, added: “It has been more than 33 years since the 1979 Ixtoc-1 oil disaster in Mexico’s Bay of Campeche, and the oysters, clams, and mangrove forests have still not recovered in their oiled habitats in seaside estuaries of the Yucatan Peninsula. It has been 23 years since the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil disaster in Alaska, and the herring fishery that failed in the wake of that disaster has still not returned.” Cake believes we are still in the short-term impact stage of BP’s oil disaster. “I will not be alive to see the Gulf of Mexico recover,” said Cake, who is 72 years old. “Without funding and serious commitment, these things will not come back to pre-April 2010 levels for decades.”
Fishers are continuing to pull up oil in their nets. Think about losing everything that makes you happy, because that is exactly what happens when someone spills oil and sprays dispersants on it. People who live there know better than to swim in or eat what comes out of our waters. Fishermen continue to regularly find tar balls in their crab traps, and hundreds of pounds of tar balls continue to be found on beaches across the region on a daily basis. There is a decrease in biodiversity in fisheries in certain areas. We are now seeing another outbreak of incidence increasing, and this makes sense, since waters are starting to warm again, so bacterial infections are really starting to take off again. We think this is a problem that will persist for as long as the oil is stored on the seafloor.”
Two years after the Deepwater Horizon dumped nearly 5 million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, some of the scientists who tried to figure out how much oil escaped are facing legal scrutiny. BP has subpoenaed the emails of Christopher Reddy and Richard Camilli, scientists at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution who conducted research on the oil spill flow rate back in 2010. During the spill, both BP and the Coast Guard requested Reddy and Camilli's help in determining the flow rate, which was crucial to understanding how much oil was pouring into the Gulf. The two scientists—and other researchers brought on to come up with an estimate—determined that the rate was about 57,000 barrels of oil per day. Now the federal government has brought a lawsuit against BP for the disaster, and the scientists are caught in the middle. The suit could cost BP billions in fines, and the company has requested access to the scientists' records. Reddy and Camilli have already turned over 50,000 pages of documents, data, and algorithms they used in their research, but BP wants more—it also wants all their emails, and the court has consented.
This is not simply invasion of privacy, but the erosion of the scientific deliberative process.
We’ve repeatedly documented that BP’s gulf Mocando well is still leaking.
Stuart Smith – a successful trial lawyer who won a billion dollar verdict against Exxon Mobil – noted recently:
New sampling data from the nonprofit Louisiana Environmental Action Network (LEAN) provide confirmation that not only is BP’s oil still very much present in the water in Bayou La Batre, but that it still exists in a highly toxic state nearly two years after the spill.
Thirty-two dolphins caught in August 2011, in Louisiana's heavily oiled Barataria Bay were found to suffer from a range of symptoms including anemia, low body weight, hormone deficiencies, liver disease, and lung problems. Those symptoms are typical of mammals exposed to oil in laboratory experiments, scientists said. "The dolphins we sampled from Barataria Bay are not in good health. Some are very sick," said Lori Schwacke, who led the dolphin study for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. "We are concerned that many of the Barataria bay dolphins are in such poor health they may not survive."
Scientists recorded abnormally low levels of cortisol and other hormones produced by the adrenal gland. Those hormones work together to control immune function, metabolism, and the body's response to stress. "These low levels of hormones suggest adrenal deficiency," Schwacke said, explaining that adrenal issues are also associated with low blood sugar, low blood pressure and heart conditions. "These health concerns have not been observed in other parts of the south Atlantic and Gulf coasts." Since February 2010, the number of dead dolphins washing ashore in the Gulf has been much higher than normal, scientists said. A total of 693 dolphins have washed up in the last two years. The "unusual mortality event" continues in Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana, though the number of dead animals found along the Florida Panhandle has returned to normal.
After going over videos and documentation the in-depth investigation found many revealing details as facts that were omitted from the congressional work. Mr. Lim’s an his team found that a 3rd Macondo well (entitled Well BE) was drilled without a permit. “This is illegal”, says Lim. It is this well the one connected to the Deep Water Horizon platform that exploded on April 20, 2010. Nearby Well A and Well B, which had MMS permits, had to be abandoned and capped earlier than the blowout due to geo-hazard risks. Congressional Records, MMS records and BP testimony omit the existence of a 3rd well and official public statements asserted there was only one well — the one that was reportedly capped. The report made public together with the Gulf Rescue Alliance describes that “Evidently, BP tried to cover up the fact of 3 wells by calling them “3 leaks” in the fallen riser.” This is supported by the fact that although the original explosion occurred on the 20th of April, no major oil leaking was visible anywhere other than close to the Deep Water Horizon platform. The document says the oil only began to be visible on the 22nd of April. According to Mr. Lim, the only way a 5-story high, multi-ton blow-out preventer (BOP) could have been thrown over 70 feet away from its original position is the execution of an artificial detonation of large magnitude which would have been purposefully set.
The document titled An Expert’s Analysis of ROV Film Footage Taken at the Deep Water Horizon Oil Spill Disaster Site was first drafted in June 2010 and revised 29 January 2012. In this document Geo-hazards specialist BK Lim points out 6 important discrepancies.
First, that the severed casing at 2 had not been bent, twisted and broken off during the sinking of the Deep Water Horizon. If it had been, the casing could not have maintained its almost circular shape. It appears more likely to have been either cut or torn-off as in “blown apart.” This itself rules out the severed casing being the mid-section of the riser since there would not be any reason for the riser to be blown apart anywhere in its mid section.
Second, the diameter of the casing at 2 is evidently much larger than the diameter of the bent riser at 1. They do not appear to look the same at all. The casing at 2 appears more likely to be part of the casing coming directly out of the seabed than being connected to the riser coming from the top of the Blow Out Preventer (BOP).
Third, assuming BP’s official version, how could the second leak (480 ft away from the BOP) have a larger volume of oil/gas flow than the first leak (1) directly on top of the BOP? If the oil and gas were flowing out of the same riser pipe, should not the first leak be the larger of the two?
Fourth, leak (1) is about 70 ft above the seabed. Could oil and gas flow downwards past the punctured bend at 1 to reach the second leak 480 ft away at seabed level? If some oil and gas did leak through (1), then leak 2 should be spewing less oil and gas than leak (1) – see discrepancy #3. But even BP admitted leak 2 to be the large of the two.
Fifth, leak 2 appeared in all videos and images to spew more oil than gas and with more ferocity than leak (1). How can that be when all the pressure would have leaked out at (1)?
Sixth, Well A and the Blow Out Preventer (BOP) was south of the second leak location. So if well A was the source, the oil and gas would have flowed northwards. But in all the ROV videos, the casing was coming out of the seabed from the north with the oil and gas flowing southwards. So where is the connection?
“Of all the inaccuracies that came out of the Gulf disaster, the most preposterous has been the “3- leaks-on-the-riser” story. Figures 165-0a to 165-0c were the first few schematic illustrations of BP’s blowout incident provided by BP to the public. To oil and gas extraction industry professionals, the illustrations defied logic to such an extreme that it was believed the schematics were deliberately drawn by cartoonists to confuse the uninformed public.”
According to this deep investigation, there were many inaccuracies and controversial circumstances surrounding the explosion of the Deep Water Horizon Platform. For example, the unlikelihood of the sudden breaking of the super-strong riser in calm water, how a third open-ended leak, leak (3), could be possible when it was in a location of the riser that was beyond the completely severed riser at the second leak (2), tampered latitudes and longitudes on the video footage of well #3, video footage of the same well that has coordinates that have not been doctored, and so on. When Mr. Lim compared the video, he was able to discover that “Leak (2)” had to be the blown crater of well #3. “This is irrefutably shown in figure 165-5, with the right coordinates in the few un-doctored videos we located,” concluded Lim.
Another anomaly in BP’s presentation is its reporting of “3 leaks on a badly twisted riser” which would be a way to hide the fact that there were 3 wells. According to government records, BP had been given permits for two of the wells which the company had capped prior to the blowout. Therefore, the 3rd well was the one that blew out and, also per government records, BP had not obtained a permit for it.
“If there were really 3 leaks on a single riser, BP could have easily reduced three into one controllable leak at the source by cutting the riser at the top of the Blowout Preventer (BOP),” says the document issued by Lim and the Gulf Rescue Alliance. This is exactly what BP said to have done in May, when it said it had installed a Lower Marine Riser Package or LMRP. The question here is, why BP waited for 40 days in order to perform this procedure if it was the one that would solve the problem? Instead, BP wasted time carrying out what Mr. Kim calls “non-standard and easy-to-fail attempts” such as the top kill, junk shots, hot hats, and so on. In total, BP waited 87 days before closing down the flow located at Well A, which it did on July 15th. The report also points out to the lack of oil or gas leaks before 5pm Central Daylight Savings Time on April 22, 2010.
“The ROV inspections of the wellhead, marine riser and BOP in the immediate aftermath of the incident show that the mega oil spill could have been easily averted with several standard industry options. It was the sort of controllable rig blowout-fire situation the industry expects and routinely train for. It could have been recovered safely without ending in a disastrous mega oil spill.”
The first gas blowout that took place on April 20, 2010 that killed 11 drilling crew on the Deepwater Horizon rig was not responsible for the massive oil spill. “It is my considered opinion, based on the 100’s of hours spent analyzing the hundreds of hours of underwater ROV footage of the 3 wells, the crater, the BOP, and riser, that a detonated explosion occurred within the well on April 22, shortly after 5pm Central Daylight Savings Time, which is what induced a bottom hole blowout that unleashed the full power of the gushing oil from the Macondo reservoir,” asserted BK Lim. “Nothing short of a massive, purposefully detonated explosion could have created that effect.”
The document supported by images of video footage and graphic illustrations also contends that due to the fact that the Blowout Preventer (BOP) was already destroyed and its remains were all over the sea floor, BP’s videos that show the BOP still standing and without any gas leaks and that were dated April 23 to mid May, 2010, corresponds to footage that was doctored to reloop itself. This video as explained before corresponded to the situation previous to the April 22 detonation that occurred around 5pm Central Daylight Savings Time.
In its presentation of “the facts”, BP said that leak (1), was right at the spot where the riser (bent riser pipe) located on the 70-ft Blowout Preventer (BOP). The company said that most of the oil gushing out into the Gulf was from leak (2). The smaller gas leak at well A could not be capped until the real rogue well (BE), aka leak (2), was sealed or bottom-killed at 18,000 ft bsl (below sea level) (reported since July 2010).
As images now show the third leak (3) was only a small gas leak that was flowing out of the open end of a drill pipe. Figure 165-0 gives the various schematic illustrations of what was stated to be the 3 leak points on the riser, based on BP-sourced information. Besides adding the labels for clarity, the only other item added to figure 165-0a was the NW SE fault line. This fault line, says Mr. Lim, was the critical factor in the shallow gas problems encountered in all the 3 wells.
“Simple logic dictates that it was physically impossible for these 3 leaks to occur on a single riser from a single blowout. Certainly not the way BP explained it. Figure 157 gives some of the discrepancies noted on Leak (1) and Leak (2) as early as Aug 2010. Note that leak (3) was allegedly sealed by capping the open-ended drill pipe.”
According to the investigation, visual proof strongly suggests that while BP had crews carrying out doomed to fail procedures, it also had more people setting up another Blowout Preventer (BOP) and reattaching the bent riser at well A.
Besides the great discrepancies explained above, Mr. Lim and his team found even more anomalies:
The open ended 5½ inch drill pipe at leak (3) is of different physical dimension from the pipe (casing) at leak (2) and the bent riser on top of the BOP at leak (1). See the marked differences in figures 165-1b and 165-2. This means they could not have been attached to each other and, therefore, are not from the same set of mechanical equipment for a series of leaks on a single well’s riser.
At leak (3) the 5½ inch drill pipe should have been inside the 21 inch main riser pipe with the attached choke, kill, booster and hydraulic supply lines. It is physically impossible to have a long “naked” drill-pipe stripped off its 21-inch riser pipe casing at the mid-section of the riser string. More impossible still is the fact that it was sticking vertically out of the seabed with the weak gas plume. The naked standing drill-pipe could only be possible if it was ejected from the blown well itself.
If the riser was carrying the same drill pipe string (5000 ft long), how did the pipe at leak (2) suddenly become several times larger than the drill pipe shown at leak (3), immediately after the blowout? This is physically impossible
In comparison with the other broken segments of the riser string lying on the seafloor, why was leak (2) so special and different if it was also broken from the same riser string? Fact: leak (2) could not possibly be from the same riser string.
BP claimed that leak (3) was sealed by capping the drill pipe. One could then logically ask why couldn’t the drill-pipe within the riser at leak (2) be similarly capped? There were many reasons they couldn’t. The main reason? Leak (2) was not a leak but rather the blown crater of well no. 3 (well BE) and not the broken riser carrying the drill-pipe within.
Leak (3) was undeniably an open ended, disconnected pipe just as leak (2) was. There could only be one severed open end in the riser segment still connected to the BOP. It can only be leak (2) or leak (3), but not both.
How did the oil “jump” across leak (3) and continue to flow to leak (2) as illustrated in 165-0a and b?
The later illustration (165-0c) which came out corrected the leak (3) anomaly by placing it after leak (2). Only problem is, then, how do you explain the “open ended pipe” at leak (2)?
Figure 165-2 and BP’s investigation report confirm that there were two 5½ inch drill-pipes within the bent riser. This means that the drill-pipe string within the riser was already disjointed near the BOP. How could oil/gas flow through a disjointed drill-pipe to leak out at leak (3) more than 500ft from the BOP?
The black oil plume at leak (2) was obviously more voluminous than the lighter orange-brown gas leak at leak (3) or leak (1). The color of the oil/gas plumes is consistent with the differences in the flow rate and volume noted in all the three leaks. Fact: the oil in each of the 3 “riser leaks” are not riser leaks but, in fact,g from different ground sources.
The videos show that the riser string was completely severed at several points and all the severed sections showed no gas/oil leaks. If Leak (1) was on the same riser string as leak (2) and leak (3), why was it not showing any oil/gas leaks until after mid May 2010 (more than 20 days later)?
The earliest video on 23 April 2010 clearly showed a steep-sided blowout crater with no “surface” riser going into the crater. The oil-spewing pipe at the base of the deep crater, had to originate from the well below. With no visible supply of oil (through the surface riser), the obvious oil supply had to be vertically beneath the crater. This further confirms that leak (2) was the blown third well (BE).
The bent riser on top of the BOP was not leaking at all in the early videos before BP publicly broadcast leak (1) in mid May (20 days later). If leak (1) at well A was the primary leak, it does not make sense to show the secondary leak (2) first. Not unless the primary leak (1) at the well was non-existent and the scene had to be set up first to portray what was being stated.
Setting up well A as the “primary leaking well” was not in the original plan. It was a backup plan. This explains the more than 20 days media blackout on the supposedly primary leak.
The riser piping could not have bent and twisted like a pretzel and yet still have remained intact.
The riser string did, in fact, break at several places as seen in figures 165-1a and 165-1b. Again how could oil flow through these “severed discontinuities” in the riser? Fact: There was no oil flow until April 22nd, as the ROV inspections showed. The clearest evidence is the photo of the vertically standing riser section (speared into the seabed). There was no oil spill emanating from it or in its vicinity. This clearly refutes the official story that a neutrally buoyant riser with floats could dig itself beneath the seabed (like a buried pipeline) only to spew out oil hundreds of feet away. Again, this is physically impossible.
If the well was already gushing out oil from the instance of the first blowout on 20 April 2010, why was there no immediate oil spewing out of the broken riser as it was sinking? The rig fire was in fact fed by more than 700,000 gallons (60% of max capacity) of diesel stored onboard the rig. Why was more than 60% of fuel still onboard the rig at the end of its long 3 months drilling campaign? Why was BP so certain free flowing crude from the well was fueling the rig fire, despite all evidence to the contrary?
It is now confirmed (figure 165-3) that it took less than 16 seconds for the riser to fully bend from an upright (slightly inclined) position. The Deep Water Horizon (falsely reported as having sunk at 10:22 Central Daylight Savings Time) could not have sunk 5000ft to the sea bottom within a minute. Thus the riser pipe had to be deliberately broken near to the BOP; possibly less than 1000ft. Otherwise, how could a marine riser which could withstand 80 mph Hurricane Ida, break at mid-section in very calm water? A shorter break segment from the BOP could also explain the extremely fast bending event. Now the question is how did the riser break?
The fact that there was no visible oil gushing out of the broken end of the riser as it sank, further confirms that the base plug at the bottom of the well had not yet breached completely (more of this in later articles) at 10:22 Central Daylight Savings Time, April 22, 2010.
If this was the case, why did BP, blog forums, and the Coast Guard repeatedly stress that “oil from the reservoir was freely flowing into the rig through the riser and feeding the intense fire on the burning rig”?
ROV inspection of the BOP and the seafloor around well (BE) on April 22, 2010 showed no signs of gas plumes, blow holes or oil emanating from the well head. That would explain why the bent riser did not have any gas leaks on 22 April where most of the doctored-relooped footage were shown. Then 20 days later, BP showed the same bent riser with the orange-brown gas plume (at well A). If BP could turn the gas leaks on and off, they should have been able to quickly stop the oil spill. It is my professional opinion that BP purposefully switched wells to publicly stage the capping event on a well that never hit pay dirt.
Even if the riser was still intact (despite the twists and bends), how could the supposedly “long riser string” plant itself inside a deep (at least 5m) crater without disturbing the overlying cemented drilling mud and sediment?
BP’s schematics showed less than 4,000 ft of riser. What happened to the remaining 1,000 ft? Further, the 700 odd ft segment from well A to well BE (crater) has a totally different degree of twisting and bends from the next 3,000 ft segment. A falling elongated but uniform body like the riser does not twist and bend midway in calm water. The bottom section had to break away first and the hanging riser dropped almost vertically under its own weight as depicted in the diagrammatic illustration of BP’s Deepwater Horizon blowout published on 30 July 2010. Consequently, the “speared location” would be centered near its original base (or well). This, again, points to the location of the third well (BE) which was fraudulently depicted as leak (2) on a fallen riser. With so much irrefutable evidence, leak (2) cannot be just a secondary leak on the riser but is, in fact, the broken well itself.
With this mountain of proof about what really happened at the Deep Water Horizon rig on April 20, 2010 it is hard to fathom any legal ruling that does not examine and consider the facts exposed herein. Any trial or private negotiation to establish a settlement — on any grounds — that does not take this information into account are automatically rendered as criminal as the crimes this information suggests took place on April 20, 2010 and the days that followed. Only a careful and detailed analysis of these hard facts will provide a clear picture to allow anyone to reach a verdict and to estimate the extent of the damages caused to the Gulf of Mexico, its people and the environment in that region; damages that multiply exponentially everyday due to the continuous and unabated flow of crude oil and hydrocarbons from the bottom of the sea into the waters of the Gulf.
One Year Later
Neurotoxic shellfish poisoning (NSP) threatening human health along Texas Gulf Coast prompted Texas Department of Health to issue a warning to stay away from the Gulf area from Brownsville through Galveston where 4.2 million have been killed in the ongoing great Gulf die-off and to not eat the shellfish from there, a situation slightly relieved after a cold front Thursday blew toxins south according to Texas Park and Wildlife.
Texas Department of State Health Services has banned commercial and recreational harvesting of shellfish in the area of the 4.2 million fish die-off and warned the public to stay away from the Gulf area to avoid neurotoxin shellfish poisoning. Since then, updates are hard to find in other news sources. The latest mass fish die-off has been attributed to extreme heat causing extreme red tide in the area plagued not only by Big Oil’s crude and Corexit, but also by Big Ag’s oxygen-depleting algae blooms, fed by fertilizer runoff from Midwestern farm fields that produce aquatic dead zones — water that cannot support sea life.
Fish kills are fairly common along the Gulf Coast, particularly during the summer in the area near the mouth of the Mississippi, the site of this kill. The area is rife with dead zones — stretches where sudden oxygen depletion can cause widespread death. But those kills tend to be limited to a single species of fish, rather than the broad sort of die-off involved in this kill. And therein lies the concern of Gulf residents, who suspect this may be yet another side effect of the catastrophic BP oil spill. Plaquemines Parish President Billy Nungesser sounded the alarm bells September 12, 11, distributing photos to the local media. Nungesser said that no testing is currently planned to determine how the kill may relate to the BP oil disaster, but he pleaded with officials from the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to investigate. “We can’t continue to see these fish kills,” Nungesser said in a statement. “We need some additional tests to find out why these fish are dying in large numbers. If it is low oxygen, we need to identify the cause.”
An Envisat ASAR satellite radar image of the Guilf taken at about 10:50 pm local time on August 30 shows distinctive slicks corresponding with video and photos taken during an overflight earlier that day by Bonny Schumaker / On Winds of Care. This image is complicated - NOAA/NODC data buoys in the area recorded very low wind speed (2-3 meters/sec) when the satellite passed overhead, near the lower limit for oil slick detection. The thin spaghetti-like strands of dark slick throughout this area are most likely tendrils of natural surfactants that commonly appear on low-wind radar images of the ocean surface. But the size, shape and appearance of a 14-mile-long slick that seems to originate at the 23051 Site matches many observations made on imagery since a chronic leak at that location was discovered. And the large dark patch at the location of the August 30 overflight apparently confirms Bonny's observations with an area of slick covering about 122 square kilometers.
The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) air monitoring through June 10, 2010, presumably found air quality levels were “normal” on the Gulf coastline. Of course this is the same EPA whose former director, Todd Christy, boldly stated that the post 911 air was fit to breathe. Christy’s 911 comments have been removed from the EPA website but can be cross-referenced in the Guardian. The EPA’s provably wrong declaration doesn’t exactly inspire confidence in the agency’s ability to fix the current Gulf crisis.
Obama's personal point man on the spill, Thad Allen, stated “the well no longer posed any threat to the Gulf. Crews will begin the last few remaining operations needed to abandon the well this week." Thad Allen’s statement followed Obama’s declaration in which he boldly proclaimed that the Gulf is safe and “open for business.” Officials from both the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the EPA echoed Obama’s safety claims.
The interconnections between the major media and BP’s Gulf Coast partners will prevent the public from ever hearing the human side of this tragedy. As a result of spraying Corexit, many researchers have highlighted the dangers associated with exposure to the oil and the corexit. Dr. Wilma Subra, a chemist and microbiologist, speaking at “Truth Out for the Gulf Forum,” stated that blood tests taken from Gulf Coast residents who have become ill, reveals exposure to crude oil and the subsequent presence of the well known cancer causing agents of Benzene and Hexane at an average of 36 times the expected rate. Subra also found that Corexit produces the Leukemia-causing agents of Ethylbenzene and Xylene at 5.7 and 5.68 times the normal expected levels in her test samples. Subra states that “this deadly toxicity is in the air, it’s in the dispersant and it is in the blood of the people."
Oregon State University (OSU) researchers, from the OSU College of Agricultural Sciences, began a test-retest comparative analysis for the carcinogenic contaminant polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), and its biodegradable partner, OPAHs, which appears after the application of corexit and subsequent exposure to ultraviolet rays. Stunningly, the OSU researchers found a 40 fold increase in these carcinogenic compounds in the comparative test-retest period.
The most damning account of the Corexit dangers posed to the Gulf comes from Hugh Kaufman, senior policy analyst at the EPA’s Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response as he stated on Democracy Now that “In light of the EPA’s data, BP’s decision to use Corexit 9500 and 9527 was based solely upon an attempt to profit on the clean-up and not carry out BP’s expressed desire to clean up the Gulf Coast environment…these dispersants were used in massive quantities, to hide the magnitude of the spill and save BP money…Both EPA, NOAA, etc, have been sock puppets for BP in this cover-up. Now, by hiding the amount of spill, BP is saving hundreds of millions, if not billions, of dollars in fines...People who work near the dispersants are hemorrhaging internally. EPA now is taking the position that they really don’t know how dangerous it is, even though if you read the label, it tells you how dangerous it is. And, for example, in the Exxon Valdez case, most of the people who worked with dispersants are dead...The average death age is around fifty. It’s very dangerous…it’s an economic protector of BP, not an environmental protector of the public. I think the media now has to follow the money and tell the American people who’s getting money for poisoning millions of people in the Gulf.
The EPA originally ordered BP to find less-toxic chemicals to break up the Gulf of Mexico oil spill amid evidence that the ineffective dispersants could actually make the spill more harmful to life in the Gulf. However, BP showed the U.S. government who is really in charge and continued using the corexit. BP also refused to let the clean-up crews wear respirators and hazmat suits while the EPA did nothing. Using the Exxon Valdez incident as a template, Gulf Coast residents who are continuing to be exposed to even more toxicity, can expect a life span that is 25% less than expected for adults and approximately 40-50% lower for children depending upon the age of exposure. It is reasonable to assume that within one short generation, the life expectancy of the Gulf will rival the worst of the third world.
Gulf of Mexico coastal residents are civilian casualties of a chemical and biological warfare. They have most of the same toxins in their blood and they share the same symptoms experienced by soldiers who survived and died after exposure to debilitating and deadly chemicals in the European trenches of WWI. Hugh Kaufman, senior policy analyst at the EPA’s Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response's decision to use Corexit 9500 and 9527 should result in a criminal investigation of BP as well as the complicit EPA officials for criminally negligent homicide and depraved indifference. Why is EPA’s chief administrator, Lisa Jackson, still free to walk the streets, while her actions have led to so much death and destruction. Why isn’t Obama being scrutinized for impeachment and criminal indictment after clearly ignoring the evidence and declaring the Gulf “open for business?”
The sociopaths running the government-corporate-media-complex are simply ignoring the plight of an entire region of our country. There is good evidence that the holocaust in the Gulf is just beginning and is now moving up the food chain and has already made its way into your local supermarket. This catastrophe is permeating the full spectrum of our food supply.
Tricia Springstead RN
Trisha Springstead is a Registered Nurse with a degree in Biological Science from UCSB. She lives in the The Nature Coast of Florida and has traveled the Gulf coast far and wide since the beginning of the oil blowout disaster. Using her nursing skills, she has attempted to help hundreds of seriously ill residents who have been horribly impacted by the toxic chemical dispersant called Corexit that has been used to sink the oil beneath the surface.
Trisha, with the assistance of Trisha James in Navarre Beach, has been championing their cause, and educating the public and officials on the fact that there are non-toxic solutions to effectively cleaning up the Gulf's environment and ocean waters. This has included pressuring and educating complacent government officials, media interviews, giving succor to individuals and families whose lives have been destroyed, and fighting her way through a variety of barriers that have been thrown in her way in an effort to get her to back off.
But she's been dauntless, and she is widely known as one of the Gulf's heroes during this disaster.
She was in a meeting recently with Coast Guard officials in an effort to get them to utilize non-toxic cleanup methods to prevent all of the damage that is currently happening to the people and the marine life of the Gulf. The response was underwhelming. But, afterwards, a young man in the Coast Guard came up to her and quietly asked for one of her information packets. He said "My wife is a nurse. She graduated from UCSD. I'm stationed in Pensacola and she's going to be moving out here. I would like for her to read about the health conditions."
Trisha said, "Can I ask you a question?"
"Were you a first responder?"
"I went out twice"
"Have you gotten sick?
"Yes, I had a lot of problems and then got pneumonia."
"Are there other first responders who are sick?
"Yes, ma'am..... More than you'll ever know."
Trisha walked around the corner so that he couldn't see her break down and sob.
Veteran toxicologist Dr. William Sawyer, has done extensive research into the human health effects of the spill, particularly toxic exposures. He warns of the grave health risks tied to the later stages of an oil spill, when we see things like tar balls and weathered crude floating on the surface. Although the oil has stopped flowing, there remain serious health risks in the Gulf. And we feel the lack of information and research coming from the government at this point is simply unacceptable given the high level of risk to a potentially huge group of people. Dr. Sawyer: “oil at the surface and in the tar balls is contaminated with higher percentages of toxic polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), some of which we’ve measured are carcinogens. Thus, this oil exposure is more toxic than that of fresh version crude.”
It’s been more than a year since BP’s runaway Macondo Well began filling the northern waters of the Gulf of Mexico with more than 200 million gallons of sweet crude, fouling shorelines from Louisiana’s marshes to the Florida Panhandle. As our nation’s worst man-made environmental disaster unfolded, it quickly became the lead story of the summer – with photos of oiled birds and video of gushing oil entrancing the American public, and the world. Yet despite the barrage of around-the-clock coverage and the army of scientists studying the impacts, one of the stories that hasn’t made headlines is that in addition to the crude and toxic dispersants, the spill also released dangerous amounts of radioactive material into the Gulf.
Once the well was capped in mid-July of last year, mainstream media resources and the public were quick to turn away from the disaster and its far-reaching impacts on the environment, marine life, wildlife and, of course, people. Much like the oil itself–strategically sunk to the Gulf floor by BP’s use of the toxic dispersant Corexit–national news coverage of the spill’s effects has largely vanished, although we did see the expected round of first-year anniversary stories. But still no mention of radioactive material.
The true extent of the spill’s damage is just now beginning to come into view for clean-up workers, commercial fishermen, oil-well workers, charter boat captains, restaurant owners, Gulf Coast denizens and independent scientists studying the effects of the spill–and the fallout becomes more troubling by the day.
Dead dolphins and sea turtles continue to wash ashore at record-breaking rates. Oyster beds have been devastated and are in desperate need of restoration. And perhaps most disturbing of all, increasingly large numbers of clean-up workers and coastal residents are getting sick. Reports of unexplained health problems are soaring–and the primary suspects are the toxic compounds contained in BP’s oil and the chemical dispersants used to break down the crude. From flu-like symptoms to blindness to intense chest pain to severe sinus inflammation, people across the Gulf region are reporting debilitating illnesses in the wake of the spill.
The toxins associated with these streams can be broken down into three primary categories: (1) organic elements like benzene; (2) inorganic heavy metals including lead, chromium and cadmium; and (3) most important, naturally occurring radioactive material (NORM). Radioactive elements such as radium, thorium and uranium are known byproducts of the oil production process. These toxic elements are extracted from the ground along with the oil and gas, and are separated from the fossil fuels as part of the production process. Once the NORM is extracted, it is flushed directly back into the ocean in the waste-stream byproduct known as produced water. Their discharge into the Gulf of Mexico has been a daily reality since the 1950s – but the amount that was released into the water from the runaway Macondo Well is unprecedented.
Uranium is increasingly seen to be a very serious hazard to humans due to its high affinity for genetic material and its ability to trap and amplify natural background gamma radiation at the one place in the body it can do most harm. For this reason, humans have developed responses to uranium ingestion over evolutionary time scales in the form of low absorption from the gut. But humans have never had to deal with uranium inhalation. Once inhaled, uranium can directly enter the brain or pass through the lungs into the lymphatic nodes and blood system, causing the wide range of neurological conditions that were identified as Gulf War syndrome at one extreme and cancer at the other.
The physical symptoms of radioactive exposure are very similar to the symptoms produced by exposure to the other toxic compounds in the oil, flu-like symptoms which continue over long periods of time. Specific symptoms from radiation exposure include: neurological problems such as memory loss, headaches and balance problems, even seizures; stomach and digestive problems, such as diarrhea; sweating; dizziness; nosebleeds and bleeding from the ears, rectum and urinary tract; trouble sleeping; and rashes or skin irritations are also be cause for concern. Many people across the Gulf region are experiencing similar health problems, and most doctors are not familiar with the effects of chemical or radiation exposure.
Uncontrolled NORM discharges occur on a daily basis during the oil production process in the Gulf of Mexico. While much of the material produced in deeper waters is dispersed into the water column and partitions into smaller concentrations, production in shallower waters produces radioactive material that settles on the ocean floor where it accumulates and comes into direct contact with bottom-feeding marine life. The radioactive elements are consumed by these benthic organisms then work their way back up the food chain to larger animals – and can eventually contaminate humans who consume seafood from the Gulf. Due to lack of research, little is know about the effects of NORM exposure in the Gulf of Mexico and how it affects ocean life and humans. However, numerous land-based studies have shown that human exposure to even small traces of radioactivity can prove deadly. Radium has a half-life of about 1,600 years while uranium lingers for billions of years. Once the material is introduced into the Gulf ecosystem whatever effect it has, for the most part, it will be permanent.
Of particular concern is the cumulative effect of the radioactive fallout occurring from oil and gas platforms near fragile marine estuaries such as oyster beds. The Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality (LDEQ) doesn’t even require rig owners to test for radioactive material in their produced-water discharge. Aside from the human impact, the BP spill is a clarion call to recognize the damage inflicted on the Gulf’s fragile ecosystem for the past half century brought on by the race to, “Drill, baby, Drill!” The coastal ecosystem of Louisiana is a litmus test for states who are considering drilling off their own shores. With possible plans to expand offshore oil production from California to Florida, this isn’t just a Gulf Coast problem, it’s a national and even international problem we all have to face. The mad scramble for offshore, black gold continues unabated around the world despite the Deepwater Horizon disaster. Major offshore installations are either in place or planned for South America, Asia, Africa, Australia, and the Arctic Ocean region. The very health of our planet’s oceans is at stake.
A mile below the surface in the Gulf of Mexico, there is little sign of life. “It looks like everything’s dead,” University of Georgia professor Samantha Joye said. …The ocean floor appears to be littered with twigs, but Joye points out that they are actually dead worms and that Alvin is sitting on top of what is considered an 80-square mile kill zone. … Aboard the Alvin Thursday, Joye said she saw “about three to four inches of material.” The devastation, she said, could last “years or decades.” “It’s still there and it’s going to degrade very slowly,” she said. … But 5,000 feet down, the oil appears to be everywhere. The government estimates that less than 25 percent of the oil remains, but these scientists say it’s not gone, just settled at the bottom of the ocean. … She told ABC News in September that samples taken from the ocean floor consistently show oil contamination. “We’re finding it everywhere that we’ve looked. The oil is not gone,” Joye in September. “It’s in places where nobody has looked for it.”
The crude oil released into the Gulf of Mexico remains in the area's ecosystem, researchers at the University of Georgia concluded in a report that contradicted the rosier estimates of the Obama Administration. Up to 3.2 million barrels of the toxic substance have not been cleaned up, the independent researchers found - higher than the estimates given by the federal scientists working for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the Department of Interior. "The oil is still out there, and it will likely take years to degrade," marine sciences professor Charles Hopkinson concluded.
Scientists from both the Obama Administration and University of Georgia (UGA) agreed it was likely that 4.9 million barrels of oil gushed out of the Macondo well after the BP-leased Deepwater Horizon rig exploded on April 20, killing 11 people. But the Obama Administration's account of what happened next to the oil at the well site located 50 miles off the coast of Louisiana is disputed by the UGA study. Its researchers criticise Federal scientists for releasing their conclusions with supposedly scant and unverifiable data. The NOAA report declined to give a single figure for oil that remained in the Gulf, though its piecemeal estimates of each cleanup component were more generous than the UGA report.
UGA scientists made their own estimates for variables such the evaporation rate of oil that came into contact with the atmosphere, and the degradation rate of oil compounds in the Gulf. They suggested that US Government scientists may have underestimated the dangers that the oil poses to local communities. For example, oil that was dispersed as micro-droplets, for instance, may still be "highly toxic," the study said. "The most toxic components of crude oil are the least likely to be naturally degraded," the report said. Even some of the oil that all parties agreed was released and subsequently purged could still be a threat, according to the study. Oil that was evaporated into the atmosphere, for one, could still be a danger for years to come, it said.
Impact on health
Meanwhile, another study published overnight in the Journal of the American Medical Association suggested the spill's impact on human health is subtle and may not be seen immediately. For clues to both the short-term and the long-term health effects of the oil spill, researchers studied cases associated with previous oil spills, all of which the authors noted, were far smaller than the Deepwater Horizon spill. They discovered for example, that workers on the 1989 Exxon-Valdez spill in Alaska have, years later, a higher prevalence of chronic airway diseases.
Clean-up workers tend to suffer most because they are exposed to volatile organic compounds, chemicals that tend to evaporate when they reach the water's surface. These compounds, such as benzene, are known to cause respiratory problems and are linked to certain cancers. But, the researchers from the Department of Medicine at the University of California-San Francisco wrote that the potential health impacts extend beyond the workers on oil spills. Nearby residents, too, may develop health problems either by exposure to crude oil in the water or by chemicals in the air. There also exists the possibility that seafood and drinking water in those communities may become contaminated. The consequences are not only physical. People exposed to the Exxon Valdez spill also proved, years later, to have high rates of depression and post-traumatic stress disorder, the study concluded.
On Feb. 13, 2010, BP told the minerals service it was trying to seal cracks in the well about 40 miles (64 kilometers) off the Louisiana coast, drilling documents obtained by Bloomberg show. This was two months before the Deepwater Horizon explosion. Over the following week the company made repeated attempts to plug cracks that were draining expensive drilling fluid, known as ‘mud,’ into the surrounding rocks. In early March, BP told the minerals agency the company was having trouble maintaining control of surging natural gas, according to e-mails released May 30 by the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which is investigating the spill. On March 10, BP executive Scherie Douglas e-mailed Frank Patton, the mineral service’s drilling engineer for the New Orleans district, telling him: “We’re in the midst of a well control situation.”
The crisis isn’t over, as BP and the government would have you believe. It’s only beginning. The biological consequences of this disaster will be felt for years, over generations, like Chernobyl.
The Clean-up Crew is wearing protective gloves and boots.
Why don't they close the beach to unprotected people?
If you live in the Gulf region, you have been and probably are being exposed to some degree or another and should be undertaking a serious detoxification regimen. The combination of dispersed oil or the Corexit by itself is particularly dangerous because Corexit serves as a delivery agent for its own harmful toxins, those of the oil, and anything else in the air. Estimates of the amount of dispersants that have been broadcasted are now over 40 million gallons, according to independent investigative journalist Dahr Jamail, who has done extensive reporting on this catastrophe.
The oil is still there, sitting at the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico and causing damage to the environment, a Florida State University professor who studies greenhouse gases, oceans and energy said Tuesday November 23, 2010.
Professor Jeff Chanton said he thinks most of that Deepwater Horizon oil as much as 70 percent to 79 percent of it sank to the ocean floor, where it remains, sucking up oxygen and inhibiting life. He and his colleagues are working to determine how that layer of sludge might affect the Gulf and how long it might take for the ecosystem to recover.
Taunya James, president of the Franklin County Seafood Workers’ Association (FCSWA), repeatedly insists dispersant is being applied to the bay daily by helicopters described as black or camouflage in color. She and other seafood workers claim to be aware of serious local contamination.
Florida DEP official Darryl Boudreau asked if anyone who witnessed the application of dispersant could provide an aircraft identification number or had taken pictures. “We’re out there to work, not take pictures,” replied James.
“We’re more concerned about the dispersant and the dispersant mixed with oilthe dispersed oil, if you willthan we are about the crude oil itself.”
Tests conducted in recent months by University of Southern Maine Center for Toxicology and Environmental Health director John Wise’s lab, using human cell lines, show that dispersants cause cell death and DNA damage, which has been linked to cancer and reproductive problems.
Awareness has dropped. People don't really care about the people who were affected. They don't care about the fish life.
For Gulf residents fighting for economic survival, a nation's short attention span is deeply unsettling, especially with oil still washing ashore. Yet it's unclear whether Americans are turning their attention elsewhere, or whether it's just the media that have. Either way, people feel abandoned. Orlando TV station finds “troubling problems with gulf seafood” Brand new laboratory test results just in Monday morning are showing troubling problems with gulf seafood… the results are raising a lot of red flags. WFTV put gulf shrimp to the test by ordering raw shrimp over the Internet and shipping it to a private lab. …
Scientists found elevated levels of Anthracene, a toxic hydrocarbon and a by-product of petroleum. The Anthracene levels were double what the FDA finds to be acceptable. The scientist who tested the shrimp said she would not eat it based on the results…
It's amazing how quickly the American public forgot that this was one of the worst manmade disasters in U.S. history. It's not in your face every day so you forget about it.
What's going on is the continued arrival of oil washing ashore, although in lesser amounts than during the summer. Dire predictions of environmental Armageddon have yet to materialize, but there's also no consensus on how badly the ecosystem has suffered.
In Louisiana, Plaquemines Parish President Billy Nungesser became the face of the oil spill during the summer, meeting with Obama and conducting countless media interviews. The parish still sends out regular news releases with photos of fresh oil, almost begging someone to notice. Nungesser said it's no accident that America has spill amnesia. He faults BP commercials for portraying the region as being healthier than it really is, for focusing more on successful aspects of the cleanup than the havoc the gusher created."What's frustrating to me is that they're obviously setting the stage for pulling out," Nungesser said. Fish in the Gulf of Mexico will continue to get sick, die or fail to reproduce as a result of the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill, scientists agree. But they do not know which fish will suffer most or what to do about it. A group of 40 scientists from fields related to marine biology, ocean physics and fisheries management gathered at Mote Marine Laboratory the first week of November to discuss the spill’s possible effects and strategies to prevent future damage. Vast amounts of larvae from crabs, fish and shrimp also perished, but the evidence of that die-off may not show up for years. “It’s logical to assume that all of that toxin has decreased their natural survival,” Thomas said.
Dr. William Sawyer, of the Sanibel, Florida-based Toxicology Consultants & Assessment Specialists: “I don’t recommend eating Gulf seafood, not with the risk of liver and kidney damage. The reason FDA has not made that advisory is because they’ve relied on this sensory test. You may as well send inspectors out to look at the fish and say they look nice. They’re sniffing for something they can’t detect.”
Robert M. Naman, a chemist at ACT Labs in Mobile, Alabama: “I wouldn’t eat shrimp, fish or crab caught in the Gulf. The problems people will face, health-wise, are something that people don’t understand. The FDA's safety threshold is borderline absurd. It’s geared so that shrimpers can go back to work, and that’s great but if we’re talking about human health and the environment, you need to proceed slowly.” “I’m not eating fish. I wouldn’t advise anyone to eat fish “The government is more worried about livelihoods and tourism, but I’m ultimately more concerned with human health.” Sawyer said “We found not only petroleum in the digestive tracts of shrimp, but also in the edible portions of fish. We’ve collected shrimp, oysters and finned fish on their way to marketplace we tested a good number of seafood samples and in 100 percent we found petroleum. The FDA says up to 100-PPM of oil and dispersant residue is safe to consume in finned fish, and 500-PPM is allowed for shellfish." Dr. Sawyer, who has long been a vocal critic of these rules, called the government’s tests “little more than a farce.”
The humanitarian known as "An American Treasure" who has been consistently advocating for the Gulf people for almost seven months since the Gulf operation began, Mr. Jeff Rense, on national and international Rense Radio, interviewed Gulf hero, Dr. Rodney Soto who advised to fearlessly keep trying to get information to the public that the Gulf crime against humanity will be the greatest disaster of mankind. The only two ways for up to 40 million people as far as 1,000 miles inland to survive toxic exposure, Dr. Soto said, is either relocate or be on an intensive, long-term, well-managed detoxification regime. “They are killing our American citizens, especially the children” and “Cancer is going to surge” are two statements in the radio program unreported by mainstream press.
Born in Equador and completing university work in the U.S. including specialist degrees, Dr. Soto stated that he is regularly finding 5-7 VOCs in his patients. These patients include people not directly involved in clean-up and residents not right on the coast. “In my opinion, we should not let people eat any of the Gulf seafood,” said Dr. Soto. Dr. Soto believes the seafood is what will kill the most people. The so-called “safe” amount of toxins is 1.3ppm. Dr. Soto highlighted that in Pensacola and other areas, soon after the Gulf Operation began, the toxic level was 1000’s ppm. Then, “they stopped reporting it.”
Mr. Rense asked how people are being poisoned; “How would you describe the vectors?” Without hesitation, Dr. Soto listed ways people have been and are being injured:
2. Skin (playing in the sand)
Dr. Soto said, “The food being distributed now will be the most common way to kill people.”
Mr. Rense’s response about the Gulf seafood was, “It is obviously tainted. They don’t care about human life."
"Where does the body keep toxins it cannot rid?” asked Mr. Rense.
“These compounds are fat soluble,” said Dr. Soto, explaining that among other places is the brain because the brain is 70% fat. “You willl see cancers in the precious organs,” he said, plus “all forms of brain disorders.” While it might be argued by some “environmentalists” that “plants and animals have taken the brunt of this murderous operation,” 20-40 million people have been poisoned according to doctors including Dr. Soto. Deliberately sprayed Corexit, banned in other countries due to its human injury of body and mind - in unprecedented amounts, is a crime against humanity continuing today.Most of these millions of people are not suffering yet, thousands are - all neglected aside from what a few medical people of integrity are doing.
Dr. Soto on RenseRadio and Mr. Jeff Rense provided an international reality check on November 15, both agreeing that truth and courage to publicly share personal information is critical to saving people. Dr. Soto is one of the relatively few doctors actually testing, diagnosing and treating many of the people poisoned, as all doctors pledged to do when they took an oath to do no harm. Covering this up and not taking direct action to halt this unprecedented crime is complicity - as Germans were for German Nazi criminals, many covertly working toward their goal in the U.S. since Operation Paperclip.
Test results are in for oil material found in Pensacola Bay recently, and the numbers are frightening. A lab experienced in testing petroleum products determined that the oil’s toxicity levels are sky-high. “In its natural state, the numbers are off the chart,” said Heather Reed, the environmental expert for the City of Gulf Breeze who made the discovery. “It’s extremely toxic to human health.”
Lab workers had to dilute the sample 20 times just to get a reading. Reed said samples are usually diluted only once. “The oil is very well preserved,” Reed added. “It smells very strong when pulled out of the water. It made me nauseated.” Reed in late September discovered a significant amount of oil buried in submerged sediment near Fort McRae in Escambia County while conducting independent research. “The oil was in about 3 feet of water and was buried pretty deep in the sediment,” Reed recalled. “The mats where between 6 inches and a foot in diameter, but some were more than 2 feet in diameter. I kept digging and finding more and more.“Finding this submerged oil is very alarming to me because it’s in such large mats,” Reed explained. “I believe it came into the bay in June with the initial impacts.”
Reed on Sept. 30 revisited the site and another near Barrancas Beach with BP and Coast Guard officials to inform responders of her discovery. She also discovered oil present at Johnson Beach, Fort Pickens and Orange Beach through research she conducted in September. The topography near Fort McRae helped preserve the submerged oil. Because the area is a secluded cove, very little water flows through it resulting in low oxygen levels. “The oil is in an anaerobic environment, so there is not a lot of bacteria to break it down,” Reed explained. Reed said that similar samples that might possibly remain submerged in the Gulf of Mexico could be extremely damaging to the marine ecosystem. “I am concerned about upwelling events,” Reed said. “Strong currents draw up nutrient rich water and sediment from the sea floor that nourishes plankton and other organisms that are the foundation of the marine food chain. “If an upwelling event brings up any oil material with these toxicity levels, it could be harmful to any animals near the upwelling plume.”
Reed is unsure of the effects of the oil on the water quality near Fort McRae. “The surface area is very large, and it gets pretty deep, so there could be a lot of dilution,” she said. “Because it sank and is submerged, it will stay there. “I would not recommend going into the water.” She explained that the effects near the beach would be different because of more aeration.
Though no oil has been reported on Gulf Breeze shores or in local bayous, those areas could be at risk. “We don’t have any barriers, the Coastwatchers aren’t patrolling anymore, and there has been no communication to the city of this oil entering the bay,” Reed said. If oil entered any of the Gulf Breeze bayous, Reed explained that it would sink and become submerged just as it had near Fort McRae. “It would definitely sink and be preserved,” Reed said. “And it would be very difficult to find.”
Components of Corexit Found in Inland Samples
October 12, 2010: Engineers have collected hundreds of water samples [near the Florida/Alabama border] in recent weeks… Preliminary tests have shown traces of propylene glycol found in the dispersant Corexit… [and the] samples taken from Cotton Bayou contained 66 parts per million…
Robert Naman, a Mobile analytical chemist, said a woman living near Cotton Bayou recently asked him to take samples… he found 2-butoxyethanol, which he called “a principal component” of one form of Corexit… He dismissed the idea that other products may have polluted the water with propylene glycol or 2-butoxyethanol. “You’d never be able to pick that up from a boat-washing operation that might be going on in Cotton Bayou,” he said. “The bayou is so big that you would dilute it out almost instantly.”
Feds say 27% of holes drilled in Florida park show oil buried 2 feet It’s “not going to get cleaned up in 2010, and probably not in 2011
Daniel Brown, Gulf Island National Seashore’s park superintendent “Our concern is we don’t do more harm by removing oil,” he said. The first few feet of sand contains crabs, insects and organic material that provide fundamental support for a beach’s ecology, he said. And yet, when survey crews bored 408 holes in the seven miles of park seashore known as Fort Pickens, 27 percent of them contained oil as deep as 2 feet below the surface.“I can see this going on for a long time,” Brown said. “The beaches are not going to get cleaned up in 2010, and probably not in 2011.”
Some researchers from the University of South Florida say they have found evidence of oil and dispersant contaminating South Walton beaches, but the Walton County emergency operations team says that isn’t so. Captain Joe Preston says there’s no way dispersant residue could have been detected on South Walton beaches… Preston says that soon BP will send crews to detect tar balls and any contaminant that may have been overlooked… According to the sheriff’s office no one is trying to hide anything “…you always have to worry about some big conspiracy…everyone’s looking for the shooter on the grassy knoll. There’s no shooter on the knoll that I’m aware of here…” NOAA and the DEP have said before that several million gallons of oil leak naturally into the Gulf and are not related to deepwater horizon. So according to the sheriff’s office some oil will always be present.
In mid October 2010, the Federal government reopened 2,927 square miles of the Gulf to fishing and shrimping, just South of the Mississippi Delta. The Feds confirmed that the area was safe for shrimping by performing a “sniff test” for oil odors on five shrimp samples. They confirmed the sniff test with three composite samples of shrimp sent for chemical testing from an approximately 1,000 square mile area. No information was provided to the public on the size or location of the shrimping grounds or why so few chemical analyses were performed. This does not seem sufficient to assess the safety of the seafood coming out of the Gulf right now.
Don't Eat Gulf Seafood
All of the tests being done are only for oil compounds. Turns out no one is testing these fish for possible contamination by that controversial dispersant, Corexit. NOAA says, in an abundance of caution, they’re currently developing a chemical test for dispersants. It just isn’t ready yet.
In an effort to show Gulf seafood is safe, Chief Operating Officer Mike Utsler enjoyed a seafood spread from the Lighthouse Restaurant in Bayou La Batre. When News Five asked the restaurant where today’s lunch came from we found out it isn’t exactly what BP had promoted. The crab claws, were shipped in from Baltimore, Maryland. The mullet was caught in Florida. The oysters came from Texas and Florida. And, the shrimp, though it is local, was caught before the oil spill, then frozen and served up daily. “Nobody knows what the long term effects are going to be,” said a waitress at the restaurant. “If you have stuff that’s from before the spill you know it’s good or as good as it ever was, so that’s what you’d want to be eating,” she said.
October 12, 2010: A statement issued by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries released the day after the fish kill stated the fish died from low oxygen levels and was not caused by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. P.J. Hahn, the Director of the Coastal Zone Management Department, points out the the LDWF came to that conclusion without taking any water or fish samples of the area. P.J. Hahn: “We had three fish kills in eight days, all in areas that were heavily oiled during the Deep Horizon Oil spill… All kills covered areas approximately two square miles in size. I collected water and fish samples and turned them over to our DA’s office. Early independent testing results show the fish have oil in their gills and liver. Now a more detailed testing will indicate the fingerprint of the oil to see if it matches the BP Deep Horizons oil.”
Petroleum contamination is known to cause cancer and brain damage. Public health experts say… they fear the possibility of cancer or neurologic impact. As far as determining whether the shrimp, crab and fish came from the gulf or were farmed in foreign waters, the best advice is to know your fishmonger because buying seafood today clearly demands that the buyer beware.
According to Imperial College London in an early 2010 study, arsenic is a poisonous chemical element that is present in crude oil. High levels of arsenic in seawater can enable the toxin to enter the food chain and disrupt the photosynthesis process in marine plants. This increases the potential for genetic alterations which have been proven to cause birth defects and behavioral changes in all aquatic life. It can also kill animals, such as birds that feed on sea creatures affected by arsenic.
Arsenic trioxide is 500 times more toxic than pure arsenic and its fumes have an odor somewhat resembling garlic. This and other similar arsenic compounds have also been reported to smell like shorted electrical wires or burnt wiring. Arsenic (as well as most arsenic compounds) rises in heat at atmospheric pressure converting directly to a gaseous form. If there is an arsenic compound being sprayed, you can smell it immediately on contact. If there were arsenic compounds in the Gulf of Mexico at any depth, when they come to the surface and become a gas, you can smell it. Those along the Gulf of Mexico and those who have been working from their boats have smelled it repeatedly.
Symptoms of arsenic poisoning begin with headaches, confusion and drowsiness. These are the same initial symptoms for those who have experienced the Gulf Blue Plague since early August. Because arsenic targets widely dispersed enzyme reactions, it affects nearly all organ systems. The most sensitive physical symptom due to arsenic exposure is dermal effects. Skin lesions are common effects of heavy chronic exposure. After continued low levels of arsenic exposure, many skin ailments appear.Besides rashes of varied appearance, hypo-pigmentation (white spots) and hyper-pigmentation (dark spots) are very common. After about 10 years, skin cancers appear. After 20 - 30 years, internal cancers appear especially in the bladder and lungs. As arsenic poisoning develops, convulsions and changes in fingernail pigmentation may occur.
Unusual white or dark coloring (pigmentation) under fingernails and on the skin has been overlooked by most everyone, yet most that are now sick with the Gulf Blue Flu and Gulf Blue Plague have now confirmed this physical sign after being specifically askedto look at their fingernails and skin. Another common place these pigmentations show up is on your back. The organs of the body that are usually affected by arsenic poisoning are the lungs, skin, kidneys, and liver. When the poisoning becomes acute, symptoms can include diarrhea, vomiting, blood in the urine, cramping muscles, stomach pain, convulsions, and even hair loss.
The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) states that the long term effects of arsenic exposure cannot be predicted. In other words, they don’t know. Add some DNA mutated viruses (bacteriophages) or mutant bacteria, and the effects will come about quickly since this is uncharted chemical and biological territory. Those living along the Gulf already know. They see the effects among themselves each day as they watch their families, friends, neighbors, and co-workers suffering from those effects.
Toxic levels of arsenic cause significant DNA hyper-methylation. DNA hyper-methylation is a process that can cause genetic alterations through inactivating DNA-repair genes. This simply means that a toxic level of arsenic in any cell brings about DNA changes so that the genes which normally repair cells become inactive or dormant. It causes your natural immunity and detoxification system to sleep when it’s needed most.
Low-level exposure to arsenic compromises the initial immune response to H1N1 or swine flu infection according to NIEHS-supported scientists. Studies suggests that people exposed to even a minute amount of arsenic are at an increased risk for more serious illness or death in response to infection from viruses. This applies to all viruses that effect mankind. Arsenic could very well explain why Gulf Blue Flu victims all have a seriously compromised immune response.
There are tests available to diagnose poisoning by measuring arsenic in blood, urine, hair, and fingernails. The urine test is the most reliable test for arsenic exposure within the last few days. Urine testing needs to be done within 2448 hours for an accurate analysis of an acute exposure. Tests on hair and fingernails can measure exposure to arsenic over the past 612 months. These tests can determine if one has been exposed to above-average levels. According to the EPA, the Corexit EC9500A used to disperse the Gulf oil contains 0.16 ppm of arsenic. We know it’s in the water and it’s being sprayed at night along with the other unknown proprietary (corporate secret) ingredients in what they keep calling Corexit, if it’s even anything that chemically resembles what we’ve been told is Corexit in the first place.
Private testing of Gulf of Mexico water samples were taken from a 12-15 foot depth approximately 25 miles west of Venice Inlet (Florida) on August 24. Testing was performed outside the U.S. under the direct supervision of a Chemistry PhD with over 30 years laboratory and field experience at a national university. These tests have revealed astounding high levels of a dangerous toxin that no-one has been mentioning, let alone monitoring: ARSENIC. The WHO safety toxicity guideline for arsenic in water is 10 ppb or less to be considered at a safe level. The test sample from the Gulf of Mexico was 731 ppb of arsenic. Arsenic concentrations are often reported in milligrams of arsenic per liter of water. Therefore, 0.010 mg/l is equivalent to 10 ppb and 0.731 mg/l is equivalent to 713 ppb. One can only imagine the arsenic levels in the northern Gulf waters where the enormous lakes of oil lie hidden beneath the surface along with other contributing factors.
After World War I, the United States built up a large stockpile of 20,000 tons of Lewisite, a/k/a "Dew of Death," a chemical weapon which is made from acetylene and an arsenic compound. Most of the stockpile was “neutralized with bleach” and dumped into the Gulf of Mexico in the 1950’s. Lewisite remains in a liquid state under a wide range of conditions. Since it stays a liquid in temperatures from below freezing to very high, it can last for an extremely long time. (1) The “bleaching” of the Lewisite supposedly neutralized the effects of the arsenic-acetylene chemical compound, but it apparently did not neutralize the arsenic itself. Because this was a military operation, there are no public records we can find pinpointing the locations in the Gulf of Mexico where the bleached “Dew of Death” was dumped. If any canisters and drums were deposited in proximity to the canyons near the BP Macondo wells or in close proximity to the Biloxi Dome, this could partially explain the extremely high levels of arsenic in the Gulf water and air if they were damaged by either the operations that have been taking place or by the fissures now evident on the seafloor.
OPAHs form when Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) degrade
OPAHs [oxygen-containing derivatives of PAHs] are of great concern along the Gulf Coast because they are more mobile, persistent in the environment and likely bioavailable. They form when PAHs react to sunlight and degrade in the atmosphere. Recently, OPAHs have been shown to form and accumulate after the biological remediation of PAH contaminated soils, and it is hypothesized that the same will be true in water.
The use of chemical dispersants during the oil spill coupled with the ultraviolet exposure in the Gulf may have increased the formation of OPAHs beyond expected levels. Researchers testing the waters off Louisiana in June found hugely elevated levels of PAHs, some of which are known carcinogens. The researchers from Oregon State University say that a device taking samples just off the shore of Louisiana's Grande Isle registered a 40-fold increase in PAHs between May and June. What's worse is that the sampling device was specifically designed to measure the fraction of PAHs in the environment that could make their way through a biological membrane. "This is a measure of what would enter into an organism," said Kim Anderson, an OSU professor of environmental and molecular toxicology.
"There was a huge increase of PAHs that are bio-available to the organisms -- and that means they can essentially be uptaken by organisms throughout the food chain." Anderson said that water samples taken off the Mississippi, Alabama and Florida coasts -- as well as air samples taken along the coast -- also showed elevated levels of PAHs, but not nearly of the same magnitude.Samples from July were lost; Anderson is now testing samples taken in August. The operative question is how many of the PAHs have biodegraded in the interim. BP's blowout sent somewhere between 4 and 5 million barrels of oil into the Gulf's waters between April 20 and July 15.
PAHs are a class of more than 100 hydrocarbon pollutants; 17 get particular attention because exposure can have harmful health effects. Anderson said that almost every one of those 17 particularly toxic compounds experienced the 40-fold increase that the entire class did. "This would be the largest PAH change I've seen in over a decade of doing this," she told HuffPost. Anderson said different organisms -- be they plankton, fish, shellfish or humans -- have different exposure risks to PAHs in the water; and they also have different capacities to metabolize the PAHs. So just how many of these toxic compounds actually ended up in the food chain was beyond her area of research, she said. She did not issue any warning to consumers, noting: "The USDA is testing the seafood and I would presume that they've ensured that what's on the market is safe to eat." Anderson said that based on the findings of other researchers, she suspects that the abundant use of dispersants by BP increased the bioavailability of the PAHs in this case.
Back in late July scientists had tentatively found signs of an oil-and-dispersant mix under the shells of tiny blue crab larvae in the Gulf. At that point it appeared to be an indication that dispersants had broken up the oil into toxic droplets so tiny that they can easily enter the food chain. But two months later, those researchers have yet to finalize their conclusions. So the question remains an open one.
A research team from Columbia University recently discovered large traces of degraded oil deep in the water column of the Gulf of Mexico. … The research team was lead by Ajit Subramaniam, an Associate Research Professor from the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory at Columbia University. The team traveled by vessel from August 21 through September 16 to a series of stations starting at the wellhead itself then going 100 miles southeast and backtracking 40 miles to the west… Subramaniam said they found areas where “degraded” oil appeared to be present from as shallow as 100 meters from the surface all the way down to 1,200 meters below the surface. “We found these in several layers and we often found layers stacked upon one another. A lot of the degraded oil appears to be moving around the Gulf, perhaps in different directions,” said Subramaniam.
Petroleum crude oils can be broadly divided into paraffinic, asphaltic, and mixed crude oils. Paraffinic crude oils are composed of aliphatic hydrocarbons (paraffins), paraffin wax (longer chain aliphatics), and high grade oils. Naphtha is the lightest of the paraffin fraction, followed by kerosene fractions. Asphaltic crude oils contain larger concentrations of cycloaliphatics and high viscosity lubricating oils. Petroleum solvents are the product of crude oil distillation and are generally classified by boiling point ranges. Lubricants, greases, and waxes are high boiling point fractions of crude oils. The heaviest, solid fractions of crude oils are the residuals or bitumen.
Crude oil can contain hundreds of thousands of compounds, the health effects of which remain poorly studied.Most petroleum hydrocarbons can enter and leave your body when you breathe it in air; swallow it in water, food, or soil; or touch it. Most components of crude oil will enter your bloodstream rapidly when you breathe them as a vapor or mist or when you swallow them. Some petroleum hydrocarbon compounds are widely distributed by the blood throughout your body and quickly break down into less harmful chemicals. Others may break down into more harmful chemicals. Other petroleum hydrocarbon compounds are slowly distributed by the blood to other parts of the body and do not readily break down. When you touch petroleum hydrocarbon compounds, they are absorbed more slowly and to a lesser extent than when you breathe or swallow them. Most petroleum hydrocarbon compounds leave your body through urine or when you exhale air containing the compounds.
Crude oil contains chemicals that rapidly penetrate the skin and move through cell walls. They can damage cell structures, including DNA, and alter the function of the cells and the organs. Crude oil composition varies slightly by its source, but its toxic properties are fairly consistent. Chemicals such as benzene and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are very toxic components of crude oil and of high concern. These and many other chemicals in crude oil are volatile, moving from the oil into the air. Once airborne, they can blow over the ocean for miles, reaching communities far from the spill. They may be noticed as petroleum odors. Consequently, both those working on the spill and people who are far from it can be exposed to crude oil chemicals in air.
The toxicity of a given sample of oil depends on the types of hydrocarbons it contains. Oil toxicity also degrades over time as the lightest, most toxic compounds dissolve in the water column. That means higher risk for workers skimming and containing fresh crude in the water, near the source of the spill, compared with those working on the shoreline. Sources may contain separate phase and dissolved petroleum hydrocarbons such as benzene, tolulene, ethylbenzene, and xylene (BTEX) and oxygenates (e.g. MTBE). Wastewater may also contain metals and phenols, in addition to common wastewater contaminants including total suspended solids (TSS), and fecal coliforms.
Exposure may result in localized toxicity (e.g., irritation of the skin following contact), but many health effects are caused by systemic distribution of chemicals from crude oil, because ingredients can move throughout the body. Exposure varies based on the duration and concentrations in the contaminated material (air, water, soil, fish, etc). Differences in exposure will occur based on location, work and personal activities, age, diet, use of protective equipment, and other factors. Concurrent exposure to other toxic chemicals at work and home must be considered when evaluating the potential for toxic effects to result from exposure to crude oil chemicals. Exposure to a combination of toxic chemicals, especially if they can damage the same organs in the body, increases the potential for health effects.
The compounds in different petroleum hydrocarbon fractions affect the body in different ways. Some of the petroleum hydrocarbon compounds, particularly the smaller compounds such as benzene, toluene, and xylene (which are present in gasoline), can affect the human central nervous system. If exposures are high enough, death can occur. Breathing toluene at concentrations greater than 100 parts per million (100 ppm) for more than several hours can cause fatigue, headache, nausea, and drowsiness.
When exposure is stopped, the symptoms will go away. However, if someone is exposed for a long time, permanent damage to the central nervous system can occur. One petroleum hydrocarbon compound (n-hexane) can affect the central nervous system in a different way, causing a nerve disorder called “peripheral neuropathy” characterized by numbness in the feet and legs and, in severe cases, paralysis. This has occurred in workers exposed to 500-2,500 ppm of n-hexane in the air.
Swallowing some petroleum products such as gasoline and kerosene causes irritation of the throat and stomach, central nervous system depression, difficulty breathing, and pneumonia from breathing liquid into the lungs. The compounds in some petroleum hydrocarbon fractions can also affect the blood, immune system, liver, spleen, kidneys, developing fetus, and lungs. Certain petroleum hydrocarbon compounds can be irritating to the skin and eyes. Other petroleum hydrocarbon compounds, such as some mineral oils, are not very toxic and are used in foods.
Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) emitted during crude oil and petroleum product terminal storage activities have the potential to be significant from both an environmental and an economic perspective. As much as 1 million times the normal level of methane gas has been found in some regions near the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, enough to potentially deplete oxygen and create a dead zone, U.S. scientists said. There is an incredible amount of methane in there," Kessler told reporters in a telephone briefing. In some areas, the crew of 12 scientists found concentrations that were 100,000 times higher than normal. "We saw them approach a million times above background concentrations" in some areas, Kessler said. The scientists were looking for signs that the methane gas had depleted levels of oxygen dissolved in the water needed to sustain marine life."At some locations, we saw depletions of up to 30 percent of oxygen based on its natural concentration in the waters.” Methane occurs naturally in sea water, but high concentrations can encourage the growth of microbes that gobble up oxygen needed by marine life.Kessler said oxygen depletions have not reached a critical level yet, but the oil is still spilling into the Gulf, now at a rate of as much as 60,000 barrels a day, according to U.S. government estimates. "What is it going to look like two months down the road, six months down the road, two years down the road?" he asked.
Methane, a natural gas, dissolves in seawater and some scientists think measuring methane could give a more accurate picture of the extent of the oil spill. Methane can become explosive when mixed with other chemicals in levels as low as 5 percent.Methane is a gas that remains in the atmosphere for up to 15 years. This greenhouse gas is produced by many natural and human-influenced sources. Landfills, coal mines and wastewater treatment, natural gas and petroleum facilities are only a few of the sources that emit this gas. It is more than 20 times more effective than carbon dioxide at trapping heat in the atmosphere.
Methane is nontoxic on its own but can become lethal when it combines with another gas. Methane causes asphyxiation by displacing oxygen. It may produce symptoms of dizziness and headache, but these often go unnoticed until the brain signals the body to gasp for air. This happens too late, and the individual collapses. Because of the lack of oxygen, the result is usually death.
Methane is extremely flammable and will easily cause explosions. It can leak unnoticed into structures and spaces, and a tiny spark can ignite the undetected gas. Explosions from methane gas are extremely strong, and the damage is devastating. The explosions associated with methane gas are not limited to the space that has the highest concentration, but anywhere it has seeped. It may be in one room, or it can travel through an entire city block.
Relation to Carbon Monoxide
Natural gas is 97 percent methane, and problems arise when there is an insufficient air supply available for ventilation. Carbon monoxide, a by-product of methane gas, is a clear, odorless, colorless, tasteless, non-irritating gas. It is, however, very deadly. Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include headache, dizziness, nausea, confusion, seizures, unconsciousness, rapid heartbeat, and high blood pressure. Carbon monoxide attacks the central nervous system and may cause hallucinations and heightened emotions, sometimes causing the victim to have "supernatural experiences." Many times, the milder symptoms are mistaken for other things, such as flu, depression, chronic fatigue syndrome and migraines. Many people suffer permanent heart damage after exposure to carbon monoxide, and as many as 500 people a year lose their lives to the gas.
Like smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors, methane detectors are available to alert you when dangerous gases are present. The audible alarm is a safeguard against poisoning from the deadly gas and from explosions that can result from methane leaks. Methane levels can vary from one area to another. It occurs naturally through sources such as wetlands, termites, freshwater bodies, oceans, permafrost and wildfires. The majority of natural methane emissions come from wetlands, with termites being the second-largest natural source.