The Government Lies to the American People About the Safety of Gulf Seafood

George Washington's picture

Washington’s
Blog

The Centers of Disease Control (CDC) just announced:

For
the seafood to pose a health risk, the food would have to be heavily
contaminated with oil, and would therefore have a strong odor and taste
of oil.

That is patently untrue.

As I pointed out in June:

Crude oil contains such powerful cancer-causing chemicals benzene, toluene, heavy metals and arsenic.

 

***

 

As Bloomberg notes:

 

“Oil
is a complex mixture containing substances like benzene, heavy
metals, arsenic, and polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons -- all known to
cause human health problems such as cancer, birth defects or
miscarriages,” said Kenneth Olden, founding dean of New York’s CUNY
School of Public Health at Hunter College, who is monitoring a panel
on possible delayed effects.

Corexit
breaks down oil into constituent chemicals. So there could easily be
toxic levels in the Gulf of compounds that don't smell anything like oil.

For example, arsenic is odorless. So fish contaminated with arsenic will not smell or taste like oil.

And crude oil contains mercury. Mercury is odorless, so fish contaminated with mercury will not smell or taste like oil.

As McClatchy notes today:

The
Gulf of Mexico oil spill still poses threats to human health and
seafood safety, according to a study published Monday by the peer-reviewed Journal of the American Medical Association.

***

In
the short term, study co-author Gina Solomon voiced greatest concern
for shrimp, oysters, crabs and other invertebrates she says are have
difficulty clearing their systems of dangerous polycyclic aromatic
hydrocarbons (PAHs) similar to those found in cigarette smoke and soot.
Solomon is an MD and public health expert in the department of medicine
at the University of California at San Francisco.

 

In the longer term, she expressed worries about big fin fish such as tuna, swordfish and mackerel, saying levels of mercury from
the oil might slowly increase over time by being consumed by fish
lower in the food chain and becoming concentrating in the larger fish.

 

As
time goes on, she said, doctors may be warning pregnant women and
children to strictly limit the amount of such fish they eat. Some of
the fish had relatively high levels of mercury even before the oil
spill, she said.

Moreover, Corexit is itself toxic.
Many of the ingredients of Corexit are either odorless and tasteless
or have very different smells and tastes from oil. For example, Corexit
contains propylene glycol, which is nearly odorless, with a faintly sweet taste. And some versions of Corexit contain 2-butoxyethanol which has a fruity rather than petroleum-like smell.

Finally, Corexit interacts with crude oil to form new compounds.
No one has thoroughly studied the range of new compounds which might
be formed by the interaction of Corexit with crude oil, let alone what
they taste or smell like.

And see this.

In addition, NOAA Administrator Jane Lubchenco says that oil doesn't bioaccumulate in fish, and that fish naturally "degrade and process" the oil:

However, as the above-quoted article by the Journal of the American Medical Association states:

Shrimp,
oysters, crabs and other invertebrates ... have difficulty clearing
their systems of dangerous polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) ....

Moreover:

Accumulation of PAHs occurs in all marine organisms.

Benzene, toluene, arsenic, heavy metals and many other components of crude oil also bioaccumulate.

In addition, NOAA admitted in Congressional testimony that dispersants may bioaccumulate.

Finally,
Lubchenco says that we can be assured that Gulf seafood is safe because
only fishing areas which are free of oil are being reopened.

That is also false.