Is the Gulf of Mexico safe?
Experts, fishermen and residents disagree with federal agencies’ claims that the Gulf and its seafood are safe.
Gulf shrimp being offloaded at Dean Blanchard Seafood Distributors, Grand Isle, Louisiana [Erika Blumenfeld]
Gulf Coast residents, fishermen, seafood distributors, and scientists believe that living on the coast and eating seafood from the Gulf has become hazardous to their health.
In response to their oil disaster last summer that released at least 4.9 million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, BP admitted to using at least 1.9 million gallons of widely banned toxic Corexit dispersants (which have been banned in 19 countries) to sink the oil. The dispersants contain chemicals that many scientists and toxicologists have warned are dangerous to humans, marine life, and wildlife.
Earlier this year on May 20, the EPA told BP it had 24 hours to find a less toxic alternative, but the EPA’s request was ignored. Then on May 25, BP was given a directive by the EPA to scale back their spraying of the Gulf of Mexico with dispersants. The Coast Guard overlooked the EPA’s directive and provided BP with 74 exemptions in 48 days to use the dispersants.
A March 1987 report titled Organic Solvent Neurotoxicity, by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), states: “The acute neurotoxic effects of organic solvent exposure in workers and laboratory animals are narcosis, anesthesia, central nervous system (CNS) depression, respiratory arrest, unconsciousness, and death.”
Several chemicals and chemical compounds listed in the NIOSH report, such as styrene, toluene, and xylene, are now present in the Gulf of Mexico as the result of BP’s dispersants mixing with BP’s crude oil.
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** Dahr Jamail‘s MidEast Dispatches **
** Visit Dahr Jamail’s website http://dahrjamailiraq.com **
Dahr Jamail’s new book, The Will to Resist: Soldiers Who Refuse to Fight in Iraq and Afghanistan, is now available.
Order the book here http://tinyurl.com/cnlgyu
As one of the first and few unembedded Western journalists to report the truth about how the United States has destroyed, not liberated, Iraqi society in his book Beyond the Green Zone, Jamail now investigates the under-reported but growing antiwar resistance of American GIs. Gathering the stories of these courageous men and women, Jamail shows us that far from “supporting our troops,” politicians have betrayed them at every turn. Finally, Jamail shows us that the true heroes of the criminal tragedy of the Iraq War are those brave enough to say no.
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“International journalism at its best.” –Stephen Kinzer, former bureau chief, New York Times; author All the Shah’s Men
Winner of the 2008 Martha Gellhorn Award for Journalism