On September 1, National Geographic published a report, ‘Could pollutants from the BP oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico end up as far north as New England?’
National Geographic followed Siddhartha Mitra, a geochemist from East Carolina University, on a National Science Foundation-funded trip to the Gulf where he took samples in Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi and then North Carolina.
“What they’re looking for are hydrocarbons associated with the oil. They break away from oil into the air during evaporation, or burning, and also break away in the water, both naturally, and with dispersants applied to break up the oil… If the dispersant chemicals are mixed in, they could also be carried inland by rainfall and wind currents. If the material is toxic, there could be toxic effects,” the report noted.
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