Monday, May 31, 2010

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

"This Is A Nightmare, " says Phillippe Cousteau, Jr. As He And Sam Champion From ABC News Dive In The Oily Gulf Waters

Today on Good Morning America Sam Champion and Phillippe Cousteau, Jr. donned hazmat suits and diving gear to get a closeup view of the oil plumes that are forming in the Gulf of Mexico. This is what BP doesn't want us to see.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Sean Penn Speaks to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Haiti

Sean Penn has been in Haiti since the day after the earthquake that devastated the impoverished island and left its people homeless and hungry. He spoke today to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee urging them to continue relief efforts as the rainy season is set to hit Haiti and bring with it more disease and death. Read his testimony here.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

This Can't Be Good

The Gulf oil spill is not in the news as much this week, but the oil still flows uncontrolled day after day. As I have posted in this blog, I am more concerned with the dispersant that is being used to break up the oil into droplets that will drop to the ocean floor. Nalco Company is the maker of the dispersant and here is a PDF that describes the product.

I find it very interesting to see that Nalco claims that the effect on the environment is low. As you look through the information note this:

No toxicity studies have been conducted on this product.


Component substances have a potential to bioaccumulate.

That can't be good.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Out of Sight, Out of Mind

Posted today on Bob Cesca's Awesome Blog...

If you're wondering why television news coverage of the oil spill is dwindling, you can thank the chemical dispersants that are pushing the oil to the bottom of the Gulf. No oil-covered birds on the shore means nothing to show on television. But...

In some cases, these dispersants could be more harmful, ecologically speaking, then letting the oil wash ashore. We don't know what's in these chemicals and there's a very high potential that they could do a lot of damage to the food chain in the Gulf. Indeed, that's why Exxon was constrained from using dispersants in Prince William Sound back in 1989.

This is a tragedy that's going to unfold over years, not months. But we won't know the extent of the damage because we're already beginning to move on and pay attention to things like Elena Kagan's softball skills. That is until people, and especially children, begin to drop dead from mysterious illnesses.

No matter how you slice this thing, it's awful, awful, awful. And to a significant extent, the American penchant for myopia and ignorance will be almost as guilty as BP, Transocean and Halliburton.


We are a nation of cover-up artists. And most people are good with that because the scope of the disasters we are confronting are overwhelming.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Babies Are Born Already Polluted

"You say they're where? Toxic chemicals - some known to cause cancer -- are in our bodies, our newborns as well. In fact, researchers have found some 300 contaminants -- industrial chemicals, consumer product ingredients, pesticides and pollutants from burning fossil fuels -- in the umbilical cord blood of newborn babies, rendering our babies 'pre-polluted' according to the esteemed scientists and medical experts of the President's Cancer Panel," writes Wendy Gordon on Huffington Post. For the complete article go here.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Dispersants And The Gulf Oil Spill

National Geographic News has an excellent article on the use of chemical dispersants used by BP oil after the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig on April 20, 2010 and the subsequent massive oil spill that is moving toward shore in the Gulf of Mexico.

Gulf Oil Spill Turns To Chemicals
By Ker Than
April 30, 2010

Breaking oil into droplets
Oil dispersants have been available to combat spills since the mid-1980s. They are detergent-like chemicals that break up oil slicks on the surface of the water into smaller droplets, which can then be broken down by bacteria in the water and by other natural processes. Dispersants also help prevent the oil droplets from coalescing to form other slicks.

According to the U.S. National Research Council, oil spill dispersants do not actually reduce the total amount of oil entering the environment. Rather, they change the chemical and physical properties of the oil, making it more likely to mix into the water column than to contaminate the shoreline.

The NRC report says that evaluating the environmental trade-offs associated with dispersant use is “one of the most difficult decisions that oil spill responders and natural resources managers face during a spill.” The reason is the increased oil exposure for fish, as well as for corals and creatures that live in the lowest level of the water, such as oysters, the report said.

"Dispersant only alters the destination of the toxic compounds in the oil," redirecting its impact from feathered and fur-bearing animals on shore to organisms in the water column itself and on the seafloor, Richard Charter, senior policy adviser for marine programs at the conservation group Defenders of Wildlife, said in an email.

"No good answers to a mess this big, only degrees of damage to various life-forms," Charter said.
I'll be updating this as I learn more.