Gulf oil spill: Did Coast Guard allow excessive toxic dispersants?

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/greenspace/2010/07/gulf-oil-spill-chemical-dispersants-coast-guard.html#more

July 31, 2010 |  8:40 pm

Documents released by a congressional committee Saturday show that the U.S. Coast Guard appeared to flout a May 25 Obama administration directive that sought to limit the use of chemical dispersants on the surface of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill to “rare cases.”

“BP carpet-bombed the ocean with these chemicals, and the Coast Guard allowed them to do it,” said Rep. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), chairman of the House energy and environment subcommittee. “After we discovered how toxic these chemicals really are, they had no business being spread across the gulf in this manner.”

Dispersants were authorized by federal officials despite their toxicity because the ecological damage from oil was deemed to be worse.  But scientists say that the chemicals, which break up the oil into tiny droplets, have contributed to large plumes of hydrocarbons below the ocean’s surface. And it is unclear whether the danger to marine organisms may be higher from toxic dispersants or from oil.

Markey, who has been investigating massive use of toxic chemicals to disperse oil from the BP spill for several months, released the Coast Guard documents along with a stern nine-page letter to retired Coast Guard Adm. Thad W. Allen, the national incident commander. The letter described, based on the documents, a chaotic and indiscriminate decision-making process in allowing BP daily exemptions from the May 25 directive.

The documents show that from May 26 to mid-July, when the runaway oil well was plugged, more than 74 exemption requests from BP to spray surface dispersants were granted by the Coast Guard, usually within the same day.  On five occasions BP requested advance approval to apply 6,000 gallons of dispersant each day to the ocean surface for an entire week, amounting to 35 days of pre-approved continuous use. Every request was approved.

The Environmental Protection Agency, although a party to the original directive, was virtually excluded from the daily decisions on chemical dispersants until June 22, almost a month after the directive, according to the documents. In early June, an EPA official complained that “the approval process appears to be somewhat pro forma, and not as rigorous as EPA desires,” according to one memorandum.

The documents also reveal contradictions in accounts of how much chemical dispersant was being used. According to DeepwaterHorizonResponse.com, the government’s official website, 1.8 million gallons of dispersants have been sprayed on the surface of the gulf and beneath the water since the April 20 rig explosion. ”The validity of those numbers are now in question,” Markey said, citing “huge discrepancies” that raise questions as to whether the Coast Guard “exercised appropriate oversight.”

The EPA calculates that the total use of dispersants underwater and on the surface declined about 72% from its peak after the May 26 order. But it is unclear whether most of the reduction came from underwater dispersants, as opposed to the surface dispersants permitted by the exemptions.

EPA spokesman Brendan Gilfillan said in an e-mail, “The use of dispersant is always a difficult decision, with environmental trade-offs that must be taken seriously into consideration. As a result, its use in response to the BP spill was subject to numerous strict conditions once it quickly became apparent that BP wanted to use it in unprecedented quantities and in novel ways.

“Specifically, EPA approved subsea dispersant use only after requiring multiple tests to confirm its use would be effective 5,000 feet below the surface and only after BP was directed to put in place a comprehensive monitoring program that ensured close observation of the ecological impact.



“Soon after, following two days of skyrocketing dispersant usage by BP, which peaked at 70,000 gallons on May 24, mainly on the surface of the water, Administrator Lisa Jackson worked with then-Federal On-Scene Coordinator Rear Admiral Mary Landry to put in place a directive making dispersant use a last resort and capping its use both on the surface and sub sea.

“Administrator Jackson and Rear Admiral Landry also ordered BP to implement a 75 percent overall reduction of dispersant use from that peak usage.”

The Coast Guard was authorized to grant waivers to increase dispersants, and “initally EPA was not involved in day-to-day decisions about granting such waivers, and EPA staff were notified after waivers were granted,” he acknowledged.

“

While EPA may not have concurred with every individual waiver granted by the Federal On-Scene Coordinator, the Agency believes dispersant use has been an essential tool in mitigating this spill’s impact, preventing millions of gallons of oil from doing even more damage to sensitive marshes, wetlands and beaches and the economy of the Gulf coast,” Gilfillan wrote.

Responding to the Markey investigation, BP spokesman Steve Rinehart wrote in an e-mail, “We were in regular communication with EPA on the topic of dispersant use and we followed the direction of the Unified Command,” the federal agency in charge of spill response. He added that “dispersant use was pre-approved as a response tool, and approved during the response, because it is effective and, on balance, less harmful” than undispersed oil.

Coast Guard spokesman Mike Lutz said Saturday that he was unaware of the Markey documents, but would request official response.

–Margot Roosevelt

Published in: on August 2, 2010 at 8:56 am  Leave a Comment  

7 Secret Ways We Are Being Poisoned

http://www.activistpost.com/2010/07/7-secret-ways-we-are-being-poisoned.html

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

7 Secret Ways We Are Being Poisoned

The objectivism of the scientific method seems to have been hijacked by corporations who often pay for scientists to support their products, as well as politicians who move through the revolving door between the private and public sector.  Even worse is that sometimes the consumer protection agencies themselves are complicit.

Monsanto started as a chemical company that brought the world poisons like Agent Orange and Roundup.

 
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The trust placed by consumers in scientific studies and Federal oversight committees has been violated in service to profit so that products are allowed to enter the marketplace with reduced safety standards.   The synthetic chemicals we encounter on a daily basis in our food, water, and environment are increasingly shown to be disastrous to our physical and mental well-being.  Volumes can be written — indeed have been written — by experts in both mainstream and alternative medicine who have documented the sleight of hand used to hoodwink consumers and threaten our health.  The categories below are worth deeper investigation as prime examples of what we might face as a species if this chemical bombardment continues.

GMO foods – Monsanto started as a chemical company that brought the world poisons like Agent Orange and Roundup.  Now they are more well known for their domination of Genetically Modified agriculture, owning nearly 90% of staple GMO crops such as corn, soy, and cotton. In independent studies GMO “frankenfood” has been linked to organ failure, and a recent Russian study has concluded near-total sterility in GMO-soy-fed hamsters by the third generation.  Despite these and many other legitimate health concerns, it is unlikely that the Monsanto-controlled FDA will curb the growth of GMO foods, while the USDA’s biotechnology risk assessment research arm has a paltry $3 million at its disposal.  Of course the industry-funded studies show that the effects GMO on human health are “negligible.”

Food additives – When most of us think of harmful food additives we think of Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) which is still in many processed foods, but unfortunately MSG appears to be the least of the poisons now found in our food.  In 2008 Melamine was found in infant formula and some food products from China; the FDA went on record to say it was OK, despite sickening tens of thousands.  Dangerous food additives appear in nearly all processed foods with even the most common food dyes Red 40, Yellow 5 and Yellow 6 being linked to cancer.  Most recently 92,000 pounds of frozen chicken was recalled because it contained “blue plastic pieces,” while McDonald’s Chicken McNuggets have been found to have “silly putty” chemicals in them.  In fact, some researchers estimate that today’s chicken is so full of chemicals that it only contains 51% actual meat.
 

Fluoride — Not all fluoride is bad; only the type promoted by dentistry and added to our water and food supply.  Calcium fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral, while its synthetic counterpart, sodium fluoride (silicofluoride), is an industrial-grade hazardous waste material made during the production of fertilizer.  It’s past history includes patented use as rat poison and insecticide.   There are many blind- and double-blind studies that show sodium fluoride has a cumulative effect on the human body leading to allergies, gastrointestinal disorders, bone weakening, cancer, and neurological problems.  In this case, the EPA’s Union of scientists issued a white paper condemning fluoridation of drinking water.  However, as a hazardous waste, it is extremely expensive to dispose of as such.  And here might be a clue as to why this chemical, more toxic than lead and almost on par with arsenic, has been disposed of for our consumption.

Mercury — A dangerous heavy metal in its natural quicksilver form, but more so as the neurotoxin, methylmercury, released into the environment by human activity.  In both organic and inorganic form, mercury wreaks havoc with the nervous system — especially the developing nervous system of a fetus.  It penetrates all living cells of the human body, and has been documented most as increasing the risk for autism.  This calls into question mercury’s use in dental fillings, vaccines, and just about anything containing high fructose corn syrup — a near staple in the American diet . . . including baby food.  But the Corn Refiners Association naturally supports this chemical that is “dangerous at any level.”

Aspartame – The king of artificial sweeteners was allowed to the market in 1981 when the U.S. Commissioner of Food and Drugs, Arthur Hull Hayes, overruled FDA panel suggestions, as well as consumer concerns.  Aspartame is a neurotoxin that interacts with natural organisms, as well as synthetic medications, producing a wide range of proven disorders and syndromes.  So who installed this commissioner that would rule against scientists and the public?  Donald Rumsfeld, CEO of G.D. Searle; the maker of Aspartame.  Rumsfeld was on Reagan’s transition team, and the day after Reagan took office he appointed the new FDA Commissioner in order to “call in his markers” with one of the most egregious cases of profit-over-safety ever recorded.  Aspartame is now nearly ubiquitous, moving beyond sugarless products and into general foods, beverages, pharmaceuticals, and even products for children.  It recently has been renamed to the more pleasant sounding AminoSweet.

Personal care and cleaning products — Everyday household items and cosmetic products are applied directly to the skin, absorbed through the scalp, and inhaled.  The Story of Cosmetics uses an animated video to tell a haunting tale of industrial violations and complicit “public safety” groups . . . and still only tells half of that story.   The list of common products and their chemical components is encyclopedic.  The sum total of the overwhelming presence of these chemicals has been linked to nearly every allergy, chronic affliction, and disease known to man.  Most recently, household cleaning products have been linked to breast cancer and ADHD in children.

Airborne pollutants – In a NASA article titled “Airborne Pollutants Know No Borders” they stated that, “Any substance introduced into the atmosphere has the potential to circle the Earth.” The jet stream indeed connects all of us. There is one category of airborne pollution that has been conspiracy theory despite a voluminous number of unclassified documents from 1977 Senate hearings:  chemical spraying (chemtrails) by both private and commercial aircraft.  Recent admissions by public officials strengthen the case.  Fallout from these chemical trails has been tested and shows very high levels of barium and aluminum.  Interesting to note that Monsanto announced that they recently developed an aluminum-resistant gene to be introduced.  Chemtrails might seem like abject paranoia, but there is a current example of chemical spraying that is undeniable: the spraying of Corexit oil dispersant over the Gulf.  This process of aerial application can be likened to crop-dusting, which we know has been going on for nearly 100 years.  Wars abroad even seem to be affecting global air quality, as military munitions such as depleted uranium have entered the upper atmosphere, spreading around the planet.  The observable effects of depleted uranium are not pleasant.  Airborne pollutants have been linked to allergies, genetic mutations, and infertility.
This is all leading to scientific, governmental, and medical management of the health and rights of the individual. It is ironic (or coincidental) that when one becomes sick due to the unnatural products listed above, the mainstream medical establishment aims to treat the afflictions with more unnatural chemicals.  Furthermore, some of the people at high levels of American government and academia such as John P. Holdren, the current White House Science Czar, have advocated population control via “pollution particles” as far back as 1977 in books such as Ecoscience.  Holdren’s views of humanity could make one question the intentionality of the poisons in our environment.

Published in: on July 27, 2010 at 12:00 pm  Leave a Comment