Disappearing Oil and Gulf Seafood: Passing the Sniff Test

For the last several days I’ve watched and read a steady stream of media coverage on the miraculous disappearance of more than a hundred million gallons of oil from the waters of the Gulf of Mexico.

Since the Deepwater Horizon exploded and sank on April 20 killing 11 workers the NOAA estimates that 206 million gallons of “light sweet crude” spewed from BP’s Macondo well field, fouling the waters of the Gulf, shutting down much of the commerce of the surrounding region and creating a giant toxic bouillabaisse in which now swim whatever critters managed to survive poisoning, suffocation, or being roasted alive.

Click on the Image for Full Size and NOAA Report

The Feds now say, as reported by the NYT, that 76% of the mess has either been picked up on the beaches, skimmed from the surface, captured by the containment process or burned off. (I suppose breathing this stuff in the air as particulates is “perfectly safe.”)

At the risk of seeming a “Chicken Little” I’d like to point out that even if the reports of this “great disappearing” are true what is left is something on the order of 50 million gallons of crud in the Gulf or about the same as 5 Exxon Valdez spills.

So, while BP, the Government and our happy-go-lucky news media are fighting for places on the “where did all the oil go” bandwagon I see no cause for celebration.

I completely understand that everyone in the area wants to look out their windows and see people thronging to the beaches and fighting for restaurant reservations. They naturally “want their lives back, ” and deservedly so, but because I have long experience (due to my status as a “geezer”) listening to lies from government, lies from business and lies from the media, I’m not buying it just yet.

I also know that government at all levels wants to put this disaster in the “solved” column and watch it diminish in the rear view mirror as the election approaches. The approach seems to be “if we say it is gone and no one can see it, then it must be gone.” It’s the “big lie” just repeat it often enough and the public will buy it, the media, after all, will help in any way they can.

What happened to the giant underwater plumes of submerged oil that were reported late in June? Did they sink to the bottom under the influence of the mass quantities of dispersants injected into the gusher at the wellhead? Is this massive layer of sludge lying on the bottom, stirred by currents and slowly being absorbed into the food chain? I don’t know the answers but I do know that everyone stopped talking about “underwater plumes of water” weeks ago.

We are being urged to return to the beaches, frolic in the waters, build castles in the sand, eat seafood in the restaurants, get back to work at fishing and above all… continue drilling, before our hard pressed oil companies get frustrated with our excess of caution and leave the country for friendlier climes.

The well is temporarily capped and a relief well is in the process and this beast may be stopped completely in a few weeks. BP is so encouraged by this that they are considering reopening the well because the reservoir still contains about 4 billion dollars worth of marketable crap:

BP left open the possibility that it could someday drill a new path into the same undersea reservoir of oil, still believed to hold nearly $4 billion worth of crude. Chief Operating Officer Doug Suttles said that BP hadn’t considered the option yet but that “we’re going to have to think about what to do with that at some point.” St Petersburg Times

Four billion dollars worth of oil, hmm, at today’s prices, $80 a barrel and at our current rate of consumption that’s nearly three days worth of oil for the thirsty old USA. My, all this bother and trouble over three days worth of oil is beginning to make renewables look attractive.

I love seafood, nearly all of it. Living as I do in Ohio makes enjoying good seafood a rare event and given the prices this far inland, only an occasional treat. Prices for what is available since the shut down of Gulf fisheries have gone out of sight and the prospect of contamination has been real.

“If I put fish in a barrel of water and poured oil and Dove detergent over that, and mixed it up, would you eat that fish?” asked Rusty Graybill, an oysterman and shrimp and crab fisherman from Louisiana’s St. Bernard Parish. “I wouldn’t feed it to you or my family. I’m afraid someone’s going to get sick.” St Petersburg Times

My confidence in the safety of what is now being prepared for shipment is not buoyed by the “information” provided in the CNN video above.

BP - British PetroleumThe ponderously named National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is testing seafood as it is brought in, they sniff it. Honest, they have “experts” for this and they are training more “experts as fast as they can.”If it doesn’t smell like oil it is sent to Seattle for further testing and chemical analysis. We are flying thousands of samples to Seattle for testing, we use jet fuel for this.

I have to stop here for a second and ask, “Isn’t this how we got into this awful oil dependency trap in the first place?” Why not fly in a lab or use the facilities at one of the Universities or research institutions in the Gulf area?

Beyond the oil contamination there remain the dispersant chemicals which were sprayed into the gusher with wild, wanton abandon, a practice which now looks like an attempt to create what is being celebrated as “the great disappearance.”

No one yet knows much about the toxicity and dangers to the environment, the threat to wildlife and human health of these products the foremost of which was Corexit, a compound produced by an affiliate of BP and Exxon. (They seem to be making money on this from every direction.)

The relative toxicity of Corexit and other dispersants are difficult to determine due to a scarcity of scientific data.[3][20] According to the manufacturer’s website, workers applying Corexit should wear breathing protection and work in a ventilated area.[21] Compared with 12 other dispersants listed by the EPA, Corexit 9500 and 9527 are either similarly toxic or 10 to 20 times more toxic.[7] In another preliminary EPA study of eight different dispersants, Corexit 9500 was found to be less toxic to some marine life than other dispersants and to break down within weeks, rather than settling to the bottom of the ocean or collecting in the water.[22] None of the eight products tested are “without toxicity”, according to an EPA administrator, and the ecological effect of mixing the dispersants with oil is unknown, as is the toxicity of the breakdown products of the dispersant.[22] From Wikipedia

There is little information about this product because the information is “proprietary” and BP and Exxon won’t release it, nor, it seems will they do the research to discover the facts about its potential dangers, or if they have done the research they aren’t divulging the results because, I guess … “its proprietary?” The manufacturer’s safety data sheet states; with simple declarative audacity:

“No toxicity studies have been conducted on this product,” and later concludes “The potential human hazard is: Low.

As it stands the word from Seattle is that there are no procedures or protocols for testing the dispersants but according to NOAA official David Westerholm “tests show that, so far, “seafood reaching the marketplace is safe to eat.” Gulp.

In the past when I ordered my favorite crab cakes I didn’t have to choose between “Regular or Hi Test.”

Bon Appetit… Urp.

Bob Higgins

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Originally posted at my site Bob Higgins

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29 Responses to "Disappearing Oil and Gulf Seafood: Passing the Sniff Test"

  1. Louise  August 16, 2010 at 2:17 am

    Apparently the seagulls will not even touch the fish washing up on the beach in the gulf area. I was out walking in Sydney Oz the other morning and I was eating a McDonald bacon and egg burger and a seagull took a mouthfull of it, including all of the bacon, right out from under my nose – literally. Seagulls are not fussy eaters but it is good to know that they are not eating the fish in the gulf area.

  2. Louise  August 16, 2010 at 2:11 am

    Just watched the news and Obama and family are holidaying in the Gulf. Obama went for a swim. I was waiting for him to feed one of his daughters some seafood just to complete the picture, just like the British PM who tried to get his child to eat some beef – trying to prove that Mad Cow disease did not exist in Britain at the time.

  3. A. Peasant  August 13, 2010 at 9:56 am

    Mother Nature
    Acts of God
    Human Error
    Remarkable Coincidences

    the four horsemen of the engineered apocalypse.

  4. Jane Quatam  August 12, 2010 at 1:54 pm

    Testing the fish in Seattle makes sense only under two related scenarios.

    1. the lab is owned either directly or indirectly through substantial contracts by either BP or the Feds
    which allows it to control the data and the testing.

    2. A local independent lab would be more likely to inform local people about poisoned or contaminated fish, by employing people 2,000 miles away to do the testing it reduces the chances of any local sympathies or relationships causing leaks of information or warnings to local people.

    Other way it is obviously a method of suppressing and destroying information. So much for transparency in goverment and business. I’d take seafood off my list of safe foods until proven otherwise.

    In other news 2 big fish kills on the East coast, one numbering deaths in the 10s of thousands near NJ/Delaware, the other off the coast of Mass. – both involving the same species of fish and both in the path of the Gulf Stream eddy currents. Hmmmmmm

  5. fixthefuture911  August 12, 2010 at 9:23 am

    jeremiah , so how are things at (BP) ??

  6. Louise  August 10, 2010 at 11:04 pm

    Hi Wayne,

    The EUROPA Commission Directory is the place to get the information – see website below.


  7. Lynn D.  August 10, 2010 at 3:23 pm

    It’s all part of Agenda 21 and eugenics. It’s also part of the spiritual war of evil against good. Do your homework people. (Read your Bibles!) And, this would be good start for any of you that want to understand just why the world is the way it is: http://www.pakalertpress.com/2010/07/19/house-of-rothschild-no-one-can-understand-what-has-happened-to-the-planet

  8. silentwarrior  August 10, 2010 at 10:11 am

    There’s a major cover up here folks. We keep electing parasitic clowns to do the work of caring servants, Yes that’s what they are our servants!! Look how they treat us like were dirt. I hardly eat anything anymore that I do not grow.

  9. william higgins  August 10, 2010 at 8:05 am

    I wish they would keep track in the gulf of Mexico where that chemical is. Did it catch a ride on the current and makeng its way to the keys?. Is it going to hit the clearwater beach area? The fact the oil may not be showing up does not mean the chemical spill is gone. Terry

  10. Ray Fischer  August 10, 2010 at 7:05 am

    I agree. Gulf of Mexico seafood is off my family’s menu for good.

    In fact, I will not be *eating* any seafood if I can’t determine the source. Given government and industry’s penchant for obfuscating facts, I would guess they will make it impossible for the average Joe to determine the origin of seafood.

    Logically, I guess there will most likely be no more seafood for me and my family.

  11. Dumb Me Down  August 10, 2010 at 6:24 am

    Enough of the ‘doomsday’ stuff. Let’s have some fun.

    “Everyone in the water!”


  12. Jeremiah said what  August 10, 2010 at 6:19 am

    Jeremiah you are one gullible misinformed network watching dude.I have been to the Gulf recently(2 weeks ago) and I can tell you firsthand ,if you eat the seafood you will get sick,either now or sometime later. Corex should NEVER have been used in the Gulf.

  13. Dave  August 10, 2010 at 5:28 am

    You answered your own question, ya-ol-geezer!

    You said: What happened to the giant underwater plumes of submerged oil that were reported late in June?

    Did they sink to the bottom under the influence of the mass quantities of dispersants injected into the gusher at the wellhead? -YES-

    Is this massive layer of sludge lying on the bottom, stirred by currents and slowly being absorbed into the food chain? -YES-

    I don’t know the answers… but you do!

    In this case, logic dictates the obvious…magic has not been performed, in fact it is appearing to have effected the loop current as in, there is no longer a loop current. Without the loop current directing the warm waters into the Atlantic were it becomes the gulf stream could cause catastrophic weather the likes of an Ice Age.

    Good Greif!

  14. ibhhou  August 10, 2010 at 1:57 am

    Warren Buffett bought Nalco, the manufacturer of Corexit in early 2009. Hmmmmmmmmm

    Halleyburton bought Boots Coots not long before the spill. Hmmmmmmmmmmmm

    This was a deliberate poisoning of the gulf and who knows what else it will do

  15. TSGordon  August 10, 2010 at 1:37 am

    Sure, it smells fishy.

    Evidently, not nearly enough people understand that this is NEW oil, meaning it’s higher in radioactive content than any other oil ‘spill’ in history. If any sizeable Hurricane comes this way over the next several years, sorry about your friends along the coast.

    This is literally the pit from Hell, and the reason the Obama-cover organization, (formerly known as -our- Government,) has ‘allowed’ BP to masquerade and dump the Corexit, is because they are desperate to convince the masses that we have an energy deficit–prior to attacking Iran, “for Israel’s security.”

    I go one step further than Barry Chamish, and I would wager, just like on 9/11, that nearly all of the capable business “ownership-class” of Jewish folks will not be stationed at Fort Israel, upon the commencement of their well planned Iranian “-fireworks show!”

  16. bob  August 10, 2010 at 1:36 am

    Oh!!!!!!!!!!wow jeremiah, that’s so cool that everything is just dandy. Because I trust you, you anonymous blobber, oops I mean blogger……..stating that the area “will” recover, well it must be true then. Between you and all the news reports that state how safe everything is, I feel as the rest of America does, sooooooo much safer………

    Thank god for people like you to tell the truth, everything will be fine, everything is okay, nothing to see here…….move along folks, watch TV and buy lots of seafood…………there is no corexit 9500, it was just a bad dream……….

    everything is fine………..

  17. Billy G.  August 9, 2010 at 9:23 pm

    Lost in translation.

  18. Musashi  August 9, 2010 at 7:35 pm

    Bob…as always you bring very vailid points to the surface. I was born and raised in Texas. I roughnecked in Texas and Louisiana both on and offshore for over four years…this is an extremely invasive and messy business. We humans are the filthiest animals on good ol’ Mother Earth.

    The “Deepwater Horizon” was a preventable event on many “what if” fronts. I could write about “leases by our government” to the “profits” of exploring for fossil fuels, but I won’t.

    The main point I would like to make is that drilling holes in our planet will never be a good thing.

  19. Dapper Dan  August 9, 2010 at 7:23 pm

    The problem isn’t with mother nature here. The problem is with the use of a human created chemical that doesn’t have any REAL proof to the effects it can have on a human beside the usual ( its toxic ). Well I have come up with an idea. Go dump some Corexit on a few BP gas stations. It won’t really matter since its not toxic, right?

  20. Patricia Tursi  August 9, 2010 at 5:20 pm

    Surprise….no oil…Corexit did it’s job…now we can’t see the oil…but it is there along with this deadly toxic chemical. Seeps of oil are occurring all over the world. In 1970, I remember testifying against the building of the Savannah, GA nuclear plant…You know what they were doing with the toxic radiated waste? Putting the radiation with a half life of 10,000 years and putting it in 30-year-life barrels and dumping it in the ocean. Gov Sanders cross examined me and asked me if I was a communist…I opposed nuclear power.. I must be a communist! For that matter…those luxury liners are dumping their waste…When I bare-boated down the Lesser Antilles the sailboats all came into harbors, pulled down their sails, turned on their motors (gotta keep the beer cold!), dumped their plastics and garbage, and killed the beautiful harbors. Sigh…Mother Earth needs a cleansing!

  21. bill  August 9, 2010 at 2:48 pm


    this 1995 chart details natural seepage, world wide, of 62 million gallons.

    while this and the related seepage amounts are at best, educated guesses it does detail that there are significant accidental and purposeful spills every year.

    the crux of the matter obviously is the use of corexit and how it will affect us down the line.

    no doubt once this floats out of the public’s vastly apathetic memory then tracking those plumes and investigating causal effects of same will just become an item of interest for follow-up and analysis but surely not for a proper plan of action for the next event.

    the public should be screaming for the minutes of all meetings held in 2001 between the oil companies and the bush the lesser administration. then the fact that our government was as much to blame as bp will become apparent.

  22. Wayne  August 9, 2010 at 2:16 pm

    When crude seeps in the natural enviroment its seep rate is rarely 1mil gallons a day, and the bugs that can metabolize crude have no problems with keeping up with the leak.

  23. Wayne  August 9, 2010 at 2:12 pm

    Trying to find original references of Corexit being banned in Europe. Thus far all I’ve seen has been a bunch of News agencies and Bloggers stating its status as banned, but none actually stating their source. Since the news entertainment industry has already showed us that any chain e-mail can make past their screen, I’m hoping you may have an original references as to when EU banned the substance, that would be great.

    Already tracked UK’s banning of the substance to a letter posted in the NYT stating Corexit was removed from their list of approved substances for over a decade.

  24. jeremiah  August 9, 2010 at 1:55 pm

    Does that mean BP is not liable for their mess? No, but it does mean that the area will survive and recover a heck of a lot faster than previously thought.

  25. jeremiah  August 9, 2010 at 1:54 pm

    Mother Nature is to blame here.

    Do you know that there are 100 times the amount of NATURAL SEAPAGE occuring in the Gulf on a yealry basis, than what has come out of this well?

    Do you think that the Ocean floor is unpenatrable and that Crude Oil is only extracted when it is drilled and siphoned out?

    Yes, there is a lot of oil comming out of this well in a concentrated area, but in actuality, it is not as bad as you think it is on the environment.

    Compare it to Valdese, and the Northern Region it spilled in, and you have something to look at and talk about. The NATURAL ENZIMES that “eat” the Crude Oil are not as prevelent in the cold waters as compared to the warmer waters of the Gulf Region.

  26. Lem G.  August 9, 2010 at 1:49 pm

    The political and economic ramifications of the the worst oil spill in US history have already begun to appear in the guise of media damage control,
    plausible deniability, and my personal favorite, statistical manipulation.

  27. Louise  August 9, 2010 at 1:35 am

    Corexit 9500A is banned for use in many countries because it is toxic. Corexit is now in much of America’s food chain. When people start getting sick because of this chemical it will be hard to trace the disease back to Corexit. And it is not only seafood I would be worried about.

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