by Terrence Aym
“I think the media now has to...tell the American people who’s getting money for poisoning the millions of people in the Gulf." - Hugh Kaufman, senior EPA analyst, admits millions have been poisoned in the Gulf states.A biochemical bomb went off in the Gulf of Mexico on April 20, 2010—a bomb that was as dangerous and destructive as a nuclear blast.
An atom bomb’s death and destruction can be measured immediately after detonation while BP’s unintentional biochemical bomb is a slow-motion explosion that is driving a disaster that continues even now.Lingering death, however, occurs with both types of explosions.Millions exposed to uncontrolled hemorrhaging, lesions, cancersRecently, enraged scientists have presented strong evidence that millions of Gulf area residents have been poisoned by the BP Gulf disaster. Worse, millions more could be exposed to long term poisoning from benzene contamination. Benzene exposure leads to cancers.Yet other than those furious scientists few seemed to care.Now, however, more frightening evidence has emerged that areas of the Gulf Coast may have been not only saturated with high levels of benzene, but hydrogen sulfide and radioactive hydrocarbon effluents too-three deadly substances that can cause disease and death years after the initial exposures. [Full report linked at end of article.]The EPA and the ongoing news blackoutThe curtain of silence that swiftly descended just days after the Deepwater Horizon blowout at the Macondo well has never been fully lifted. At the time, a no-man's land was created prohibiting fishermen, reporters, news helicopters and civilian sea and air craft from approaching the immediate disaster zone. The US Coast Guard and BP conducted joint operations feverishly attempting to quell the spreading disaster.Reporters were threatened with arrest. News stories were yanked. Scientific reports buried. And data from the NOAA research vessel—initially sent to the region to take readings of the seafloor—was suppressed.Yet, like the oil and gas, information leaked.Beyond the oil gushing into the Gulf at a rate never before seen, deadly methane gas also flooded the region. The methane reached such high levels of density in the Gulf that brilliant scientists like Dr. John Kessler of Texas A&M recorded stunning readings of methane amounts one million times higher than normal. His reports reached the media.Although access to the forbidden zone has since been restored, a partial news blackout regarding the chemical readings and data that were measured in the Gulf waters and the Gulf states from April into August continues.A conveyor belt of death: deep sea oil plume 22-miles longDespite the "all-clear" pronouncements of talk radio commentators like Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity, the Gulf has not "magically cleaned itself up."Poisons flooded into the Gulf for three months. Unabated, these poisons have affected the ecology of the region. Now more evidence is mounting that the delicate infrastructure of life inhabiting the Gulf continues to absorb much of the poison and is passing it on to unsuspecting humans. Reports that sea life in the Gulf have remained uncontaminated are being vigorously challenged.And new reports are circulating the globe that the missing oil’s been found. A plume 22-miles long is suspended deep in the cold, dark waters of the Gulf. It’s not breaking up and it’s not being eaten by microbes.It is, however, acting as a conveyor belt of death.Cocktail of poisonsSome environmental experts are calling what’s pouring into the land, sea and air from the seabed breach ‘a chemical cocktail of poisons.’Areas of methane dead zones devoid of oxygen are continuing to drive species of fish into foreign waters, are killing plankton and other tiny sea life that are the foundation for the entire food chain, and are polluting the air with cancer-causing chemicals and poisonous rainfalls.And before the news blackout fully descended, the EPA released data that benzene levels in New Orleans had rocketed to as high as 3,000 parts per billion (ppb).Benzene is extremely toxic, even short term exposure at low levels can cause agonizing illness and slow death from cancerous lesions and leukemia years later. But 3,000ppb is far from a low reading.Hydrogen sulfide was also detected by the EPA monitoring stations around the New Orleans area. The EPA reported hydrogen sulfide levels as high as 1200ppb. A normal, safe level falls between 5 to 10ppb.Recently, Ron Kendall, an ecotoxicologist from Texas Tech University, was interviewed by National Geographic concerning the affect of the poisons released by the blown out well on bacteria and plankton in the Gulf.The results were not looking good. Indications of a major, ongoing poisoning occurring in the Gulf were widespread. "This is what we've been worried about, because this is the base of the food chain," he told National Geographic. "Any effects on that level can work their way right on up."Meaning right up the food chain to humans—many of whom have already been exposed to poisons from the air and water.The bio-chemical time bombA hamstrung oil giant unable to stop a gigantic disaster; the federal government's inaction and misdirection; angry governors unable to get federal agencies to lend a hand; a Nobel Prize winning physicist appointed as the head of the task force dealing with the Gulf—a man who couldn't tell a drill bit from a drill press…This is either a script for a bad Hollywood movie or a reality that could lead to the eventual premature death of millions.Unfortunately, it's a reality. And the BP Gulf ticking time bomb continues to tick.According to a report issued by Michael Harbart, Professor of internal medicine at Wayne State University and Kathleen Burns, Ph.D., Director of Sciencecorps, long-term exposure of the chemicals released by the ongoing BP Gulf disaster—at relatively low levels—should be avoided at all costs because "the potential for serious health damage is substantial. Chronic health effects are typically evaluated for specific crude oil components and vary from cancer to permanent neurological damage. They cover a range of diseases affecting all the organ systems..."
[Sciencecorps.org: "Gulf Oil Spill Health Hazards"]In their JAMA paper, the “Health Effects of the Gulf Oil Spill,” Gina M. Solomon and Sarah Janssen categorically state that “The oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico poses direct threats to human health…”They further point to that infamous “cocktail of poisons” again naming benzene, hydrogen sulfide, toluene, and xylene among other toxic airborne contaminants that have been released over the residents of the Gulf coast community. Senior EPA analyst admits millions poisoned in GulfRecently—in an eye-opening interview with 'Democracy Now!'—Hugh Kaufman, a senior policy analyst at the EPA’s Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response, made this shocking admission:"And I think the media now has to follow the money, just as they did in Watergate, and tell the American people who’s getting money for poisoning the millions of people in the Gulf."As Alexander Higgins at 'Democracy Now!' points out: “Hugh Kaufman has been at the EPA since the Agency was created in the early 1970s, as an engineer, investigator and policy analyst. Prior to joining the EPA in the beginning of 1971, he was a captain in the US Air Force. He helped write all the Federal laws regulating the treatment, storage, disposal, and remediation of solid and hazardous waste. He has been the Chief Investigator on numerous contamination cases, including Love Canal and Times Beach.”For more of the transcript and the EPA analyst’s video testimony go here.The walking deadLike those exposed to the Russian Chernobyl disaster, or the many thousands now sick and dying after exposure to the 9-11 Twin Towers toxic cloud, the people of the Gulf coast may have joined the ranks of the walking dead.Experts cannot predict with any certainty that the poisons will be contained exclusively to the Gulf states. Weather patterns and the variable density of the substances could conceivably expand the Death Zone into parts of the Midwest and East coast of the United States.What happened leading up to the Deepwater Horizon disaster can be debated as an accident or a folly, but what has happened to millions of people in the aftermath can be called nothing but criminal.Now BP and the federal government have been attempting to assuage public concerns and claim that the Gulf disaster has been much ado about nothing.Their claims are being met by skepticism. The response from Washington has been excuses. Although that will be of little consolation to the children and adults that may contract leukemia or other debilitating diseases a mere handful of years from now.Excuses are of little value to the dead.
...AddendumBenzene Exposure, Health Hazards and Toxicity'Benzene and Other Toxic Solvents and Chemicals'New Orleans' '4WWL TV News' report on EPA benzene levels [May 2010 before news blackout.]BP releases benzene in Texas too:
For 40 days, flares burned 500,000 pounds of toxic chemicals over BP's Texas City refinery. Yet residents didn't know until weeks later that the flare released 17,000 pounds of cancer-causing benzene.Hydrogen Sulfide ToxicityToxicity Chart of Hydrogen SulfideToxicological profile for hydrogen sulfideRadioactivity exposure: air, water, food supply“Radioactive Hydrocarbon Effluent ...from oil and which possesses higher levels of radium isotopes. The deeper the petroleum reserves, the more likely the reservoirs of oil and methane in those geological formations will contain uranium, thorium or radium. Given the elevated levels of radioactivity at the source, the level of radioactivity associated with the hydrocarbon effluent coming out of the well will inevitably be impacted. Radium isotopes have inherent health risks that ought to be identified and properly disseminated. The concerned resident of the Gulf Coast may want to initiate him/herself in the area of health impacts due to long-term exposure to low grade radioactivity. Of course, the seafood, the waters and the beaches all provide different vehicles for such contamination to take place, each with varying consequences.'Environmental and Health Impacts of the BP Gulf Oil SpillSourcesScientists plead dispersants not be used
Dispersants consensus statement [PDF]"Will BP’s oil dispersants increase carcinogens in Gulf food chain?"
Release of carcinogens and toxins like benzene, lead and mercury into seawater, studies show.Massive deep sea oil slick proven to exist"BP oil spill 'more damaging, widespread' than first thought - study"
NEARLY 80 per cent of the crude oil released into the Gulf of Mexico remains in the area's ecosystem, researchers at the University of Georgia concluded yesterday in a report that contradicted the rosier estimates of the Obama Administration.
"Researchers: 80% oil remains in Gulf" "Huge pool of hydrocarbons lurks in Gulf of Mexico"
Oily plume in depths not being biodegraded"Gulf oil spill: Giant underwater plume challenges optimism""Underwater oil belies all-clear call for gulf""Report Paints New Picture of Gulf Oil""Oil Plume Is Not Breaking Down Fast, Study Says""BP oil spill: scientists find giant plume of droplets 'missed' by official account"
A 22-mile plume of droplets from BP's Deepwater Horizon well in the Gulf of Mexico undermines claim that oil has degraded"Deep Water Plume Persists Months after Oil Well Blowout"
Oil-eating microbes not significantly breaking down oil"Scientists criticize White House minimization of Gulf disaster" Carcinogens released in air, water and contaminated foodNew Orleans 4WWL TV News report on EPA benzene levels [May 2010]Sciencecorps.org: "Gulf Oil Spill Health Hazards"Report: "Assessing the Effects of the Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill on Human Health" - National Academies Press
Download entire report free“Health Effects of the Gulf Oil Spill," Gina M. Solomon, MD, MPH; Sarah Janssen, MD, PhD, MPH - Journal of American Medical AssociationExcerpt: “The oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico poses direct threats to human health from inhalation...The main components of crude oil are aliphatic and aromatic hydrocarbons…benzene, toluene, and xylene—benzene is known to cause leukemia in humans, and toluene is a recognized teratogen at high doses. Naphthalene is listed by the National Toxicology Program as "reasonably anticipated to cause cancer in humans" based on olfactory neuroblastomas, nasal tumors, and lung cancers in animals. Oil can also release hydrogen sulfide gas and contains traces of heavy metals, as well as nonvolatile polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) that can contaminate the food chain. Hydrogen sulfide gas is neurotoxic and has been linked to both acute and chronic CNS effects; PAHs include mutagens and probable carcinogens.”"Assessing the Effects of the Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill on Human Health" - National Academies Press
Chapter 3: Short and long term physical effects on human health, p43 - p74"BP Oil Spill: Dealing with Uncertainty, Human Health and a Manhattan-Sized Toxic Soup""BP, NOAA, EPA Cover-Up: Neurotoxin Pesticide Dispersant Corexit's Lethal Effects""Toxic Oil Found Deep on Gulf Seafloor?"
Oil may be harming base of food web, early results suggest.ALERT: "Environmental and Health Impacts of the BP Gulf Oil Spill""Gulf oil spill: scientists assess health effects""Death Song for the Gulf: Toxic Effects of BTEX Chemicals on Residents and Wildlife"Report: "Crude oil and your health" [PDF] "Gulf carcinogens in food chain""BP oil poisons Gulf food chain"