Scientists Confirm that Dispersants Are Increasing Contamination in the Gulf

George Washington's picture

Washington’s Blog

I have repeatedly documented the detrimental impacts of dispersants on humans, wildlife and seafood safety. See this, this, this, this, this, this and this.

As I noted in September, scientists from Oregon State University found elevated levels of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in the Gulf, and blamed dispersants.

Now, the website of the prestigious Journal Nature is also reporting on the increase of PAH contamination due to the use of dispersants in the Gulf:

Peter Hodson, an aquatic toxicologist from Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, presented his case on 9 November at a meeting of the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry in Portland, Oregon…


The problem, explains Hodson, is that the dispersed cloud of microscopic oil droplets allows the PAHs to contaminate a volume of water 100–1,000 times greater than if the oil were confined to a floating surface slick. This hugely increases the exposure of wildlife to the dispersed oil. …


Worse, the toxic constituents of oil hang around longer than other components, another speaker told the meeting. “This idea that there’s an oil biodegradation rate doesn’t hold,” says Ronald Atlas, a microbiologist at the University of Louisville, Kentucky, who has studied the aftermath of the 1989 Exxon Valdez spill in Alaska. Alkanes, the simple hydrocarbons that comprise the bulk of oil, are degraded more readily than the PAHs, he points out.

As the Press Register notes:


“These chemicals, these are PAHs that are carcinogenic. … These items are not in any way appropriate for anyone to eat,” said Ed Cake, an environmental consultant from Ocean Springs. “There’s no low-dose level that’s acceptable to eat.”…


[William Sawyer], the [veteran] Florida toxicologist, said the government tests do not look for total petroleum hydrocarbons in the seafood. He said his tests of Gulf shrimp have shown unsafe levels of the compounds, which can cause liver or kidney damage in a matter of weeks.

And watch this short video.

Raw Story reports:

Dr. William Sawyer… said… “We found not only petroleum in the digestive tracts [of shrimp], but also in the edible portions of fish.


“We’ve collected shrimp, oysters and finned fish on their way to marketplace — we tested a good number of seafood samples and in 100 percent we found petroleum.”


The FDA says up to 100-PPM of oil and dispersant residue is safe to consume in finned fish, and 500-PPM is allowed for shellfish.


Dr. Sawyer, who has long been a vocal critic of these rules, called the government’s tests “little more than a farce.”

Maine Public Radio points out:

We’re more concerned about the dispersant and the dispersant mixed with oil–the dispersed oil, if you will–than we are about the crude oil itself.”





Tests conducted in recent months by [University of Southern Maine Center for Toxicology and Environmental Health director John] Wise’s lab, using human cell lines, show that dispersants cause cell death and DNA damage, which has been linked to cancer and reproductive problems.

WFTV Orlando reports:

Brand new laboratory test results just in Monday morning are showing troubling problems with gulf seafood… the results are raising a lot of red flags.


WFTV put gulf shrimp to the test by ordering raw shrimp over the Internet and shipping it to a private lab. …


Scientists found elevated levels of Anthracene, a toxic hydrocarbon and a by-product of petroleum. The Anthracene levels were double what the FDA finds to be acceptable.




The scientist who tested the shrimp said she would not eat it based on the results

I've also previously reported that dispersants were used long after BP and the government said they had stopped using them in July. Now, Cherri Foytlin and Denise Rednour claim to have pictures of 176 empty containers of ‘discontinued’ COREXIT 9527A found… With a ship date of August 10th. And the president of a county seafood workers' association claims that dispersant is still being applied.

In related news:

  • An NSF-funded workgroup notes: “Storms are likely to resurrect the oil that is currently hidden from sight” — “Much oil persists” nearshore
  • A Florida State University professor says the oil is still there: "most of that Deepwater Horizon oil — as much as 70 percent to 79 percent of it —sank to the ocean floor, where it remains, sucking up oxygen and inhibiting life.
  • A University of Florida scientist says “clear evidence that much of the oil is still below the surface in subsurface plumes”
  • Alabama shrimpers find catch “coated in oil” at area open for fishing — Boat to be decontaminated
  • Instead of cracking down on BP, the Obama administration has granted "categorical exclusions" to federally funded stimulus projects by BP (and other companies), effectively exempting those projects from environmental oversight

Hat tip: Florida Oil Spill Law

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seventree's picture

Even out here in the Fringe Division it is getting harder to stir up passionate debate on this subject. And soon it will be 2011 and anything that happened this year will start to be obscured by the murk of history.

I have never been among the ranks of Obama-haters (more in the neutral give-the-guy-a-chance camp) but what he has done personally and through federal agencies to suppress the original events and ongoing consequences in the Gulf surpasses Watergate in the criminal abuse of presidential power. These acts I cannot forgive.

Cistercian's picture

 Only 33 comments?Then again, it is an insane news day.

   Thank you for staying on this story GW.It is a story with real staying power...which is a shame for those poor people in the Gulf.

  Thank You!!!!!

bubba1231's picture

You imbeciles REALLY believe OBL was not responsible for 9/11 - or alternatively - our government which can't cover up a bed has this vast conspiracy to work with OBL to take down the towers.  AND furthermore this lie was than not exposed with the change of administration.  The VAST MAJORITY - I would bet 99% of families of 9/11 survivors don't subscribe to this nonsense and therfore you are as good as spitting in their faces.  And No it is NOT off topic.  It gets to the very credibility (or complete lack of) of GW.  He is a liar.

DollarMenu's picture

This topic is about the oil spill in the gulf.

Not about 9/11.

You are missing something that is true,

that something is a functioning brain.

Stay on topic or move out.


Thank you GW -

you do 'truth' a great service.

Sean7k's picture

If OBL was involved he was either paid by the CIA or allowed to proceed with help for the purposes of our government. You are the imbecile. Of course, you could provide some documentation to refute GW's thesis- you do know what a thesis is? You could explain the freefall of Building 7 into it's own footprint. Or, you could just shut the fuck up and get out with your tail between legs.

George Washington's picture

Have you spoken with family members?

9/11 rescue workers?

NY firefighters IN THE TWIN TOWERS on 9/11?


Have you, sir?

9/11 Commissioners:

  • And the Senior Counsel to the 9/11 Commission (John Farmer) - who led the 9/11 staff's inquiry - recently said "At some level of the government, at some point in time...there was an agreement not to tell the truth about what happened". He also said "I was shocked at how different the truth was from the way it was described .... The tapes told a radically different story from what had been told to us and the public for two years.... This is not spin. This is not true." And he said: "It's almost a culture of concealment, for lack of a better word. There were interviews made at the FAA's New York center the night of 9/11 and those tapes were destroyed. The CIA tapes of the interrogations were destroyed. The story of 9/11 itself, to put it mildly, was distorted and was completely different from the way things happened"

If even the 9/11 Commissioners don't buy the official story, why do you?

Senior intelligence officers:

  • Former military analyst and famed whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg said that the case of a certain 9/11 whistleblower is "far more explosive than the Pentagon Papers". He also said that the government is ordering the media to cover up her allegations about 9/11. And he said that some of the claims concerning government involvement in 9/11 are credible, that "very serious questions have been raised about what they [U.S. government officials] knew beforehand and how much involvement there might have been", that engineering 9/11 would not be humanly or psychologically beyond the scope of the current administration, and that there's enough evidence to justify a new, "hard-hitting" investigation into 9/11 with subpoenas and testimony taken under oath (see this and this)
  • A decorated 20-year CIA veteran, who Pulitzer-Prize winning investigative reporter Seymour Hersh called "perhaps the best on-the-ground field officer in the Middle East”, and whose astounding career formed the script for the Academy Award winning motion picture Syriana (Robert Baer) said that "the evidence points at" 9/11 having had aspects of being an inside job

If even our country's top intelligence officers don't buy the official story, why do you?



  • Former U.S. Republican Congressman and senior member of the House Armed Services Committee, and who served six years as the Chairman of the Military Research and Development Subcommittee Curt Weldon has shown that the U.S. tracked hijackers before 9/11, is open to hearing information about explosives in the Twin Towers, and is open to the possibility that 9/11 was an inside job

If there is bipartisan questioning of the official story, why aren't you questioning it?

Other government officials:

  • Former Deputy Secretary for Intelligence and Warning under Nixon, Ford, and Carter (Morton Goulder), former Deputy Director to the White House Task Force on Terrorism (Edward L. Peck), and former US Department of State Foreign Service Officer (J. Michael Springmann), as well as a who's who of liberals and independents) jointly call for a new investigation into 9/11
  • Former Federal Prosecutor, Office of Special Investigations, U.S. Department of Justice under Presidents Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan; former U.S. Army Intelligence officer, and currently a widely-sought media commentator on terrorism and intelligence services (John Loftus) says "The information provided by European intelligence services prior to 9/11 was so extensive that it is no longer possible for either the CIA or FBI to assert a defense of incompetence"

If top government officials are skeptical, why aren't you?

Numerous other politicians, judges, legal scholars, and attorneys also question at least some aspects of the government's version of 9/11.

Jean Valjean's picture

I'll answer for bubba:

Pluralitas non est ponenda sine neccesitate.

Occam's Razor.

Thanks Bubba, you proved your point.  I got a new conspiracy for yall.  I submit that GW and CD are the same person:  Cathrine Austin Fitts.


revenue_anticipation_believer's picture

a new name, eh? inadvertent, but interesting, Jean Valjean  most diligent information provider....

Rotwang's picture

Gawd, they get thick when it touches a sensitive spot.

Did you steal any silver today, and get pardoned by the victim?

Occam. Hmmm. Doubt it.

"So the point of this missive is that Occam's razor is bogus and can easily be demonstrated by merely examining the context of universe and the language of expressions of Occam's razor. First note that universe is ANYTHING other than simple. In fact, complexity rules. Universe, if it ever was simple, instantly headed in the direction of the nearby hills of Complexity at breakneck speed and never looked back. "

attributed to Clif High.



If ZeroHedge is a joke "by definition"

woolly mammoth's picture

Thanks GW for continuing to collect and share. Stay safe, as I knock on wood.

bubba1231's picture

Shill for who?  I live in NY have zero connection to BP.  But when truth becomes a casualty of conspiracy  - the REAL conspiracies can't be uncovered.  GW is a joke and by definition he makes Zerohedge (which could be so valuable) also a joke.  And spitting on the graves of those who dies on 9/11 is a huge offense.

George Washington's picture

Bubba,  because you appear - for a change - to be reading replies to your comments - did you see this ...?

First of all, your comment on 9/11 is off-topic.

Second, WATCH THIS. more...

Third, this is old (so some links may be broken), but important:

Isn't it disrespectful to the victims of 9/11 and their families to question the events of that day?

No. Many of the families of the victims question the official story and are demanding that the truth be disclosed. The same is true of many dying heroes - the first responders who worked tirelessly to save lives on and after 9/11 - and are soon to become victims of the 9/11 attacks themselves.

Disrespectful to the Victims

A common tactic that 9/11 apologists use for changing the subject away from 9/11 truth is to claim that questioning the official version is "disrespectful to the victims and their families".

In fact, half of the victim's families believe that 9/11 was an inside job (listen to this interview). Many family and friends of victims not only support the search for 9/11 truth, but they demand it (please ignore the partisan tone). See also this interview.

Sean7k's picture

GW, thanks again for the updates. This is turning into one big eugenics exercise. To all those who trust your government: They will kill you whenever they need to. You are an expense until proven otherwise. Then, they will use you and kill you. 

It will not be a quick death, but one of long suffering from cancer. The quick deaths are for those that they cannot afford to have heard. We owe our government nothing but our disloyalty and resistance at ever turn.

P.S. no one pays attention to bubba GW. You are nice enough to refute him, but why bother. 

SparkySC's picture



Wow, bubba1231 comes out of retirement just to again comment on one of GW's oil spill articles!

Fucking shill

bubba1231's picture



You LIE about your short position in BP.  You Lie about the Gulf and you think the goivernment created 9/11.... Am I missing something?

hbjork1's picture


I have looked through this post to see where GW thinks the government created 9/11.  Can't find it.  And where is the quote on short position. 

On our government:  In the early 60s after finishing my tour of duty in the USAF, I was hired for a job in a lab in St. Louis later moved to AZ.  I went to work running a project that I had been offered in the interview.  As time passed, I was "worked into" the real function of the lab, research on clandestine government activities.  It was the period when fantasys about the overthrow of Castro were in vogue and the Vietnam situation was requireing attention but yet to officially start.  The John Birch Society was still influencial.  I was totally "gung ho"  (Eagle Scout ethics) and was productive for management.  It was very interesting.  One workers, a PhD chemist, was analysing for the toxins in a piece of wood that had been used to kill an agent in South America. (It turned out to be the kind of poison that is produced by certain tree frogs)

The established work in the chemical area was good and useful.  Some accidents in experiments with disablng (non toxic) agents resulted in very laughable situations.  I know from personal experience that there are fully disabling agents (think potent Mace) that do not have long term effects, at least not yet and the events were some 47 years ago. 

With that experience, I have often thought that IF the stewardesses had been trained and issued the appropriate Mace type sprays, the people who died on 9/11 would be alive today.  Of course, it is also true that the airlines and stewardesses would have subject to expensive lawsuits by people that were affected even though there was no real harm.  Our kinder, gentler world that we have today does have its downside.

I stayed in that job only three years because many of the work assignments coming out of DC in the other work areas indicated that clowns with budgets were proposing too much of the work.  I was ashamed to be taking taxpayer money for what I was doing.


Herd Redirection Committee's picture

May I suggest researching the Tora Bora cave complex.  You know, where we said they planned it, and ran the operation from.  Turns out the CIA built it (in Afghanistan) in the 80s, to help the mujahadeen against the Russians.  So you are basically saying, they were working for us (Taliban/Al-Qaeda) in the 80s, but then they went 'rogue' and turned on us.

Or, is it more likely they STILL work 'for us' (CIA) but now they have been paid to fight 'us' instead of the Soviets!

I haven't been down to the Gulf, so I won't offer a comment, but if i had to guess whether BP was lying, or GW, I would guess BP!

PsychoNews: Exposing the Oligarchy, one Psycho at a time.

MeTarzanUjane's picture

Salient points.

BP shills are everywhere. Paid to coverup the damage. FUCK YOU SHILLS!

Cognitive Dissonance's picture

Yes, you're missing your Certified Junk.


Mr Lennon Hendrix's picture

Thanks for continuing your work on the GOM GW!

marcopolo101520's picture

As much as I would like to agree with the author, the polyaromatic hydroc arbons (PAH) are naturally occurring in the chemistry of oil (check SARA on google .... Saturated Aromatics Resins Aliphatics). Corexit might be delivered as an aqueous solution (any MSDS?) so it will be missile with seawater and as a result marine life will cycle it so might end up in the food chain, but PAHs as aa general rule are not water soluble so, they might either float on the surface or sink to the bottom. I am not convinced corexit is to blame for PAH but oil leaked in the Gulf. Not to say either that Corexit is good for the environment, just that dots are not connected here in my opinion.


CORRECTION: It is missible with water (at least the product that I looked at, but for sure they have other products under the name COREXIT) and it disclosed as a health risk 1 (low), mostly ethylene glycol.

Cognitive Dissonance's picture

WHO is disclosing this information and is that person or entity truly independent? The government is not an independent entity. There are countless cases of government agencies acting as industry shills or proponents whether it be drugs, energy, water, military, industrial etc.

Trust no one and independently verify everything.

ReeferMac's picture

Instead of cracking down on BP, the Obama administration has granted "categorical exclusions" to federally funded stimulus projects by BP (and other companies), effectively exempting those projects from environmental oversight


Well, isn't that special....

How is all of this not illegal?

Cognitive Dissonance's picture

How is all of this not illegal?

For all intents and purposes The Constitution and The Bill of Rights have been usurped, amended or suspended.

They just forgot to tell you.

The Rock's picture

They should've renamed the dispersant to Maxeitworsit

Raynja's picture

In food and finance I always prefer new dangerous toxins to clean up the mess

earnyermoney's picture

But Mr. Steinberg said the Gulf was back to normal in an interview with Margaret Brennan last week.

Cognitive Dissonance's picture

Dr. William Sawyer… said… “We found not only petroleum in the digestive tracts [of shrimp], but also in the edible portions of fish.

“We’ve collected shrimp, oysters and finned fish on their way to marketplace — we tested a good number of seafood samples and in 100 percent we found petroleum.”


Brings new meaning to the term "fish oil supplements" doesn't it?

The Rock's picture

ain't nothing like burping up a little corexit...

Cognitive Dissonance's picture

In my mind (and it appears many others) the Gulf Oil cover-up is on par with anything ever attempted by The USSR/Russia and China, to name two more notorious and serial cover up kings of the international kind.

We may be able to argue specifics and degrees, but the USA has jumped the shark and joined the "usual suspects" list of rouge nations. It was inevitable and unfortunate.

To quote Rogue Operator Number One (VP subdivision) Dick Chaney........"It is what it is".

MeTarzanUjane's picture

Fuck the BP British cunts that go around polluting the world!! I hope the IRA resumes activities in part to retaliate against the wholesale disruption of marine ecology in the GOM.

FUCK THE BRITS! They should all be euthanize. Every last one of them. Royal wedding, the prince has a shitcock!