Remember how all the conspiracy nuts claimed the chemicals BP was dumping in the water might actually evaporate into the air and then rain down on the Gulf States, poisoning land, water, and of course, people?
And remember how the government officials said, “No, no, no! That could NEVER happen. Not to worry! … But we’re not going to let scientists look at the data we’ve collected…”
And how people kept turning up with what looked like chemical sickness, even though it was (of course) impossible?
It wasn’t impossible. A NASA scientist has started releasing some of that hitherto unavailable data. And it’s not pretty.
The data being released, which was collected by the NASA missions to the Gulf, shows that the toxic compounds released from the BP spill became airborne, and significant quantities were brought onshore by precipitation, thereby exposing coastal populations to chemical poisoning. This represents something new and unique not observed in previous oil spills. It helps explain why there were numerous reports by people living along the Gulf Coast that it was raining oil and dispersant during the summer months.
“The data we collected in the atmosphere shows a very high hydrocarbon load and we were able to identify more than 100 compounds in it. Many of them have health implications. There were large amounts of them and they have similarities to gasoline. In that regard the modeling I did seems to suggest that there are reasons for concern. There are reasons to do additional research.”
The scientist: Ira Leifer, Ph.D from University of California Santa Barbara. He was The Chief Mission Coordinating Scientist on the NASA remote sensing mission to the BP oil spill in the Gulf Of Mexico, and he’s a ten-year veteran of oil spills (as well as natural methane bubble flows).
What was so different about the BP spill? He laid it out for Jerry Cope at the Huffington Post;
- Volume of dispersants: Previous spills were small, leading to one-day exposures. The BP exposure lasted months.
- Seeing it in the rain: “People at California Oil Spill who have done testing on burning have never seen anything like that. But you don’t have 102% humidity in California.”
And the problems are unprecedented as well:
- Most cleanup workers were not wearing masks or other protection.
- We don’t know what their exposure levels were, since no measurements were taken.
- We don’t know the risks, because for these toxins, no long-term tests have been done.
- “The big worry is pregnant women and the elderly — at risk populations. In that regard, at-risk populations, the levels seem to suggest there could be really severe concern for the health-related impacts.”
- If we don’t deal with this wisely, there’s a danger that we’ll see a “mysterious Gulf Coast Health Syndrome appearing five years from now that nobody figures out what it is until 10 years from now with a lot of people getting sick and very ill in the interim.”
Read the whole interview at Huffington Post.
March 9, 2011
Source: Red, Green And Blue