tagged w/ Corexit
The latest chapter in the media's ongoing struggle to cover the Gulf Oil Spill comes courtesy of PBS Newshour's Bridget Desimone, who has been working with her colleague, Betty Ann Bowser, in "reporting the health impact of the oil spill in Plaquemines Parish." Desimone reports that on the ground, officials are generally doing a better job answering inquiries and granting access to the clean-up efforts.
But Desimone and Bowser have encountered one "roadblock" that they've struggled to overcome: access to a "federal mobile medical unit" in Venice, Louisiana: "The glorified double-wide trailer sits on a spit of newly graveled land known to some as the "BP compound." Ringed with barbed wire-topped chain link fencing, it's tightly restricted by police and private security guards."
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services set up the facility on May 31. According to a press release, the medical unit is staffed by "a medical team from the HHS National Disaster Medical System -- a doctor, two nurses, two emergency medical technician paramedics (EMT-P) and a pharmacist."
For over two weeks, my NewsHour colleagues and I reached out to media contacts at HHS, the U.S. Coast Guard and everyone listed as a possible media contact for BP, in an attempt to visit the unit and get a general sense of how many people were being treated there , who they were and what illnesses they had. We got nowhere. It was either "access denied," or no response at all. It was something that none of us had ever encountered while covering a disaster. We're usually at some point provided access to the health services being offered by the federal government.
From there, Desimone describes the runaround she and Bowser were treated to, in terms with which you are no doubt familiar with by now. When Desimone finally got to speak with Ron Burger, the "Medical Unit Operations Chief for HHS's National Disaster Medical System," she was told that the facility had been treating responders and could not or would not confirm or deny that any area residents had been treated there or turned away.
Concerns over public health in the Gulf region run high. Experts in the field have called for a "coordinated approach to monitoring and researching affected populations." And residents of the region continue to worry about the near-term effects of the clean-up effort and the long-term health impact the oil spill will have on the seafood. They have good reason to be concerned:
One of the first things BP did after oil started gushing into the Gulf was to spray more than 1.1 million gallons of a dispersant with the optimistic name "Corexit" onto the oil. Then BP hired Louisiana fishermen and others to help with cleanup and containment operations. About two weeks later, over seventy workers fell sick, complaining of irritated throats, coughing, shortness of breath and nausea. Seven workers were hospitalized on May 26. Workers were engaged in a variety of different tasks in different places when they got sick: breaking up oil sheen, doing offshore work, burning oil and deploying boom. BP officials speculated that their illnesses were due to food poisoning or other, unrelated reasons, but others pointed out how unlikely these other causes were, since the sick workers were assigned to different locations.
Burger also told Desimone that the facility was being run under the auspices of the "national contingency plan." I'll remind you for the eleventy billionth time that National Incident Commander Thad Allen specifically directed officials on the ground to grant access to the media, in what appears to be the most widely unheard or ignored set of orders in the world.The latest chapter in the media's ongoing struggle to cover the Gulf Oil Spill... more
Watch a live Video feed of the Estimate 2.5 Million Gallons/Day of oil gushing into the Gulf of Mexico from the Gulf of Mexico floor, 5000 feet below the surface of the water.
It's really gut-wrenching.
Tell Pres. Obama & Congress to stop offshore drilling, cut subsidies for oil and coal, & start subsidizing clean energy technologies!
We need to bring people-powered politics to bear on government decision-making. We can't trust anyone else, not politicians, not corporations, to do it but ourselves -- sign the petition:
http://j.mp/a0lS4aWatch a live Video feed of the Estimate 2.5 Million Gallons/Day of oil gushing into... more
Kurt Nimmo at infowars. June 25, 2010.
"Yobie Benjamin writing for The San Francisco Chronicle, is reporting what nobody else in the corporate media is reporting — a mysterious disease has stricken crops in Mississippi and it may be connected to the BP oil gusher. “It seems like damage brought by the oil gusher has spread way beyond the ocean, coastal areas and beaches. Collateral damage now appears to include agricultural damage way inland Mississippi,” writes Benjamin. The disease has caused widespread damage to plants from weeds to farmed organic and conventionally grown crops.
Benjamin believes the disease is the result of BP spraying the oil dispersant Corexit 9500 in the Gulf of Mexico. Corexit 9500 is believed to be responsible for widespread reports of oil cleanup crews reporting various injuries including respiratory distress, dizziness and headaches.
“Dispersants have never been applied on this scale, leaving environmental scientists guessing about the consequences. Corexit may have caused seven cleanup workers to be admitted to the hospital with shortness of breath and nausea,” reports Popular Science.
"Many have focused their concerns about Corexit… on what it’s doing under the water. But as we know, the oceans are part of a larger precipitation cycle, and scientists are worried that soon the consequences of using dispersants could be falling from the sky,” writes Beth Buczynski for Care2, an environmental website.
The EPA asked BP to stop using Corexit, which is banned in 18 countries due to its toxicity, but the oil transnational has refused."Kurt Nimmo at infowars. June 25, 2010.
"Yobie Benjamin writing for The San... more
Environmental engineer Joe Taylor has a dire warning for BP: they have to stop using their chemical dispersant, Corexit, immediately. Or else, according to a report from WKRG in Mobile, everything is going to die!
He says the sulfur and sulfuric acid based dispersant makes the oil spewing into the gulf sink, where its impossible to clean up--and where it depletes oxygen levels under the water, killing plankton and everything above plankton in the food chain. "Corexit is toxic, petroleum is toxic, and its depleting the oxygen levels," he says.
What's worse says Taylor, is that if he knows this information, so does BP. "They have a lot of chemists who are a lot smarter than I am, and they know this," he says.
Taylor told WKRG that BP is using Corexit "the wrong way," recommending they use an alternative, BioSolve, that is "bio-friendly" and usable on the beaches as well as in the Gulf.
The problems keep mounting for the Gulf, environmentally speaking. As USA Today reported today, BP's next problem is how to dispose of "millions of gallons of potentially toxic oil sludge." BP's plan, which has been endorsed by the Coast Guard and the EPD is to recycle as much of the sludge as possible, but experts say the toxic goop could actually "ruin refineries."Environmental engineer Joe Taylor has a dire warning for BP: they have to stop using... more
After weeks of silence on the issue, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finally decided to go public with the list of ingredients used to manufacture Corexit, the chemical dispersant used by BP in the Gulf of Mexico oil disaster. There are two things about this announcement that deserve our attention: First, the ingredients that have been disclosed are extremely toxic, and second, why did the EPA protect the oil industry's "trade secrets" for so long by refusing to disclose these ingredients until now?
As reported in the New York Times, Brian Turnbaugh, a policy analyst at OMB Watch said, "EPA had the authority to act all along; its decision to now disclose the ingredients demonstrates this. Yet it took a public outcry and weeks of complaints for the agency to act and place the public's interest ahead of corporate interests."
On the toxicity question, you could hardly find a more dangerous combination of poisons to dump into the Gulf of Mexico than what has been revealed in Corexit. The Corexit 9527 product has been designated a "chronic and acute health hazard" by the EPA. It is made with 2-butoxyethanol, a highly toxic chemical that has long been linked to the health problems of cleanup crews who worked on the Exxon Valdez spill.
A newer Corexit recipe dubbed the "9500 formula" contains dioctyl sodium sulfosuccinate, a detergent chemical that's also found in laxatives. What do you suppose happens to the marine ecosystem when fish and sea turtles ingest this chemical through their gills and skin? And just as importantly, what do you think happens to the human beings who are working around this chemical, breathing in its fumes and touching it with their skin?
The answers are currently unknown, which is exactly why it is so inexcusable that Nalco and the oil industry giants would for so long refuse to disclose the chemical ingredients they're dumping into the Gulf of Mexico in huge quantities (over a million gallons dumped into the ocean to date).
But it gets even more interesting when you look at just how widespread this "chemical secrecy" is across Big Business in the USA... and how the U.S. government more often than not conspires with industry to keep these chemicals a secret.
It's time to end chemical trade secrets
Armed with the accomplices in the FDA, EPA, FTC and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, powerful corporations have been keeping secrets from us all. It's not just the toxic chemicals in Corexit, either: Large manufacturers of consumers products -- such as Unilever, Proctor & Gamble and Johnson & Johnson -- routinely use toxic chemical ingredients in their products -- ingredients which are usually kept secret from the public.
Similarly, virtually every perfume, cologne and fragrance product on the market is made with cancer-causing chemicals that their manufacturers refuse to disclose, claiming their formulas are "trade secrets."
Throughout Big Business in America, the toxic chemicals used in everyday products such as household cleaners, cosmetics and yard care remain a dangerous secret, and the U.S. government actually colludes with industry to keep these chemical ingredients a secret by, for example, refusing to require full disclosure of ingredients for personal care products. The FDA offers us virtually no enforcement in this area, depending almost entirely on companies to declare their own chemicals are safe rather than requiring actual safety testing to be conducted.
This is why the following statement is frightening yet true: What BP is doing to the Gulf of Mexico, companies like Proctor & Gamble are doing to the entire population. We are all being mass poisoned by the toxic chemicals in personal care products, foods, medicines, fragrance products and other concoctions created by powerful corporations that use toxic chemicals throughout their product lines... but who refuse to disclose those ingredients in the public.
continuedAfter weeks of silence on the issue, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)... more
Truth be told, dispersants are far from a panacea. They are first and foremost a public relation tool to manipulate public opinion into believing the oil spill is disappearing, digested by microbes. The dispersants keep the oil underwater and together have created a deadlier mix than oil and water. Out of sight, out of mind, and the American public, with an increasingly short attention span buys into it. In reality an oil spill treated with chemical dispersants poses an even greater ecological threat than the oil spill left alone.
Corexit is an extremely toxic chemical dispersant. It was favored by BP over other alternative dispersants more ecologically friendly and with a better track record, mostly for cost reasons. It is estimated that more than 870,000 gallons (3.2 million litres) of Corexit has been used so far, either sprayed on the surface or released underwater-150,000 gallons (570,000 litres).
Dispersants rely on wave movements shearing the oil film mechanically in order to refine crude oil into separate chemicals. This may have worked to some extent on the Exxon Valdez spill of Alaska where waves are big but in the Gulf of Mexico? Ever heard of a surfing competition in the gulf? The waves are just not there for the dispersant to work.
Seven cleanup workers were hospitalized last week after complaints of headache, dizziness, breathing problems and nausea. The workers are said to have told the doctors, according to the medical centre sources, that the chemical dispersant used to break up oil had made them sick. Doctors believe the likely cause to be chemical irritation as well as dehydration from working in the heat. Manufactured by Nalco Energy Services L.P., the Material Safety Data Sheets state that Corexit 9500 cause irritation when in contact with skin, chemical pneumonia if ingested and irritation to the respiratory tract with repeated and prolonged inhalation. MSD of Corexit EC 9527A states:
Symptoms of Exposure
- Acute : Excessive exposure may cause central nervous system effects, nausea, vomiting, aesthetic or narcotic effects.
- Chronic : Repeated or excessive exposure to butoxyethanol may cause injury to red blood cells (hemolysis), kidney or the liver.
No toxicity studies have been conducted for either product, so the extent of damage is still not known. However, according to a study by Exxon, Corexit 9527 and Corexit 9580 have low to "moderate toxicity to most aquatic organisms in laboratory tests." Corexit 9527 is also known to damage the red blood cells, leaving fishes to bleed to death.
Know this: Most of the hydrocarbon chemicals extracted by the dispersants stay at the surface. They are the first ones to evaporate alongside water into clouds overhead that later fly over the continent and provide rain to the southern states. We are talking about chemicals causing cancer or kidney failure such as benzene and pretty much any possible chemical that can be extracted from crude oil. These chemicals would end up in water supplies, rain on crops, and eventually imbibed by humans and animals alike.
The 2010 Atlantic hurricane season began on June 1 and The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) predicts 8-14 hurricanes ,14-23 storms, and 3-7 major hurricanes-the figures higher than normal years.
During the next few hurricanes, extreme shearing at the surface of the sea will boost the chemical action of dispersants which separate petroleum chemicals and suddenly increase the concentration of noxious chemicals evaporating from the spill. These hurricanes will carry this noxious cocktail across the southern US and north of Mexico, polluting the water supply and all that depend on it.
How to recognize the signs that the spill aftermath rained inland:
if after a downpour you notice that the road is slicker than usual, this is a sign the rain water may be contaminated
if after a downpour any foliage appears waxy, and any white surface stained.
crops and plants which whither unexpectedly after a downpour. The oily substance coating the leaves block respiration and photosynthesis. A lot of herbicides are petroleum-based (but so are fertilizers). cont.Truth be told, dispersants are far from a panacea. They are first and foremost a... more
BP continues to spray a product called Corexit in the Gulf of Mexico despite demands from federal regulators to switch to a less-toxic dispersant to break up the oil from its massive offshore spill.BP continues to spray a product called Corexit in the Gulf of Mexico despite demands... more
A quick glance through the scientific literature on the effects of chemical dispersants on marine life leads to two conclusions. One: chemical dispersants were a popular test subject of the disco era, but faded soon after, with research on their effects on marine life going the way of the polyester three piece suit. Two: what little we do know doesn't sound at all good if you are a larval, juvenile, or adult fish, crustacean, mollusk, if you are a seaweed, or coral, or if ... aw, hell, if you live or work on or in or near the ocean, they are bad news.
And this is why BP's refusal to cut back its use of Corexit (a common chemical dispersant) despite direct order from the EPA to do so, is so disturbing. Besides being an outright affront to the authority of the U.S. in her own waters, it risks further and potentially irreversible damage to marine and human life, in exchange for what one ocean conservationist called a "PR stunt."
In theory, chemical dispersants such as Corexit are supposed to correct an oil spill by breaking up the oil slick into small droplets that sink below the surface (but not all the way to the bottom). The idea is that these smaller droplets will disperse through the water column where they can be easily ingested and broken down into "natural products" by bacteria and prevent the slicks from reaching the shore or coating animals at the surface. See here for a video explanation by Norco, makers of Corexit.
The reality is, these are toxic chemicals that have been linked to respiratory, nervous system, liver, kidney and blood disorders in people, and have caused developmental problems, cancer, and death for multiple marine species. The little science that has been done concludes with phrases such as: "leads to pathological larval and rapid cytolysis" (translation: diseased babies and rapidly disintegrating cells).
Even industry reports admit that the impact of Corexit on fish is "affected by species, size, maturity, and many other variables." In other words, we have no idea what these chemicals are doing. We do know that adding dispersants can increase toxicity and that Corexit with oil can be more harmful than oil alone. And there's risk of the oil accumulating in the food chain. We know its bad enough that the U.K. banned the type of dispersant BP stubbornly keeps spraying.
The real concern is that BP has sprayed more Corexit into the Gulf than has ever been used before—a world record breaking 700,000 gallons of the stuff (an amount far beyond anything ever studied). And, they are also pumping the dispersants a mile down. There is no telling where that dispersed oil may go, or if it could settle to the bottom, where it would be impossible to remove.
So why is BP insisting on continued use of dispersants when they are likely causing more harm than good? One reason could be that the dispersed oil sure looks less nasty than all those aerial photos of black and rust red crude floating toward shore. And, it seems as though they have some less-than-virtuous incentive to stick with Corexit, which after all, is developed by the industry itself.
So while it may look like things aren't quite so cruddy, there's a lot of dark matter hidden beneath the waves. And chemical dispersants are putting it there.A quick glance through the scientific literature on the effects of chemical... more
Some fishermen who have been hired by BP to clean up the gulf oil spill say they have become ill after working long hours near waters fouled with oil and dispersant, prompting a Louisiana lawmaker to call on the federal government to open mobile clinics in rural areas to treat them.
The fishermen report severe headaches, dizziness, nausea and difficulty breathing. Concerned by the reports, Rep. Charlie Melancon (D-La.) wrote to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius asking the agency's help providing medical treatment, especially in Plaquemines Parish, a southern region where many fishermen live.
Melancon said he expected BP to fund the clinics, but his spokeswoman said Tuesday the company had not responded to last week's request for financial assistance.
George Jackson, 53, has been fishing since he was 12 and took a BP cleanup job after the massive oil spill forced the closure of fisheries and left him unemployed. As he was laying containment booms Sunday, he said, a dark substance floating on the water made his eyes burn.
"I ain't never run on anything like this," Jackson said. Within seconds, he said, his head started hurting and he became nauseated.
Like other cleanup workers, Jackson had attended a training class where he was told not to pick up oil-related waste. But he said he wasn't provided with protective equipment and wore leather boots and regular clothes on his boat.
"They [BP officials] told us if we ran into oil, it wasn't supposed to bother us," Jackson said. "As far as gloves, no, we haven't been wearing any gloves."
David Michaels, U.S. assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health, reviewed the conditions for cleanup workers, pledging this month that the federal government would ensure workplace safety in a toxic environment.Some fishermen who have been hired by BP to clean up the gulf oil spill say they have... more
Video: Donning hazmet suits to take a journey deep under the Gulf, what was discovered was that BP is killing the Gulf. This is beyond sad and outrageous.Video: Donning hazmet suits to take a journey deep under the Gulf, what was discovered... more
Pictures of the extent of this ecocide as the oil continues to gush out of the well 31 days after the Deepwater Horizon blew... THIRTY ONE DAYS. Scientists estimate that it could well be 100,000 gallons not 5000 gallons per day escaping from this well, which surely explains how it has now created subsurface plumes and become a part of the current loop that will in time more than likely carry it up the East Coast to spread its cancer.
You cannot look at the photos of these animals and not be emotionally struck by them. Our very biodiversity and the ecosystems they and we depend on to live are now in great danger. And yet, all we get from BP are lies, coverups, and one failed attempt after another to plug this well and aggressively seek to save the wildlife and sealife that inhabits this once beautiful part of our country. And all we get from this government is a reshuffling of the incompetence that aided in it and feigned outrage as BP's stock price actually rises.
There is no way to recover the moral conscience lost in regards to this gash that now
bleeds our planet. It is an open wound that reveals to all the price paid when what is less important is given a false value over those things whose value is immeasurable.
I really don't know how much more I can watch of this unfolding. Water is what gives us life, and we are killing it... and my heart is aching. I do know this, however. I know that as someone like so many who cares for the sustainability of this planet and the future of our children, I will not rest until those responsible for this pay.Pictures of the extent of this ecocide as the oil continues to gush out of the well 31... more