The Toxification of the Gulf
Truthout recently covered the hidden threat to those in the Gulf as experts warn that residents and administrators need to start planning an immediate evacuation of the region.
Marine toxicologist, Riki Ott, has been traveling from Louisiana and Florida for the past two months, monitoring the effects of the current Gulf disaster. In late May she began meeting people in the Gulf who have been experiencing numerous amounts of maladies such as: headaches, dizziness, sore throats, burning eyes, deep rashes and blisters that are leaving scars. And according to Ott, the culprit is the near two million gallons of "Corexit," the chemical dispersant being used by BP to break up and hide the oil below the ocean's surface. The chemical agent is an industrial strength solvent and degreaser that is actually chewing up boat engines off-shore, and is the likely cause of the maladies Gulf residents, and clean-up crews are experiencing with toxic exposure.
As a community activist, Ott has been exposing the public to this unspoken truth, urging people to contact detox specialists at The Environmental Health Center in Dallas, and warns that these symptoms are in result of chemical poisoning. Since she has been dealing with the public and local communities directly, Ott has been receiving an influx of communications from concerned people who are frightfully in the dark about what is happening to them, and exactly how to combat the situation.
After expressing her concerns during a meeting in May with the Environmental Protection Agency, the administrator told Ott that they do not want to create a panic amongst the people. This past Tuesday a whistleblower, Hugh Kaufman, who works as a senior policy analyst in the EPA's Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response, "is accusing the agency of deliberately downplaying public health threats and its own role in regulating the chemicals being dumped into the gulf 'to protect itself from liability and keep the public from getting too alarmed.'"
Furthermore, samples were of water and soil from five Alabama beaches and were taken to a local lab to be tested. Chemist Bob Naman, didn't expect there to be more than five parts per million of oil and petroleum in the water, but when the water sample was tested it showed 66 parts per million and the sand showed 211 parts per million. When Naman actually began the test, the sample collected from Dauphin Island Marine exploded. Naman says that it is most likely in result due to the presence of methane gas, or the dispersant Corexit.
Ott and Kaufman are urging the press to follow the paper trail of money to expose the truth behind the cover-up, and how the dispersant is actually just masking the amount of oil actually being pumped into the Gulf. That the EPA is siding with BP in hiding the environmental and public health risks resulting from the spill and the chemicals being used to mask it, is a true crime against humanity, with which the press needs to redeem itself by shedding light on the real dangers behind this disaster that are putting the public at greater risk.
Image: "BP's Clean Energy Future In Gulf" by Green Peace USA 2010 on Flickr courtesy of Creative Commons Licensing.