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March 26, 2012 Updated News | Coral Reef Damage March
A Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences publication will explain the effects of the Gulf Oil Spill on the natural habitat of the Coral Reef. The research funded by the National Science Foundation begins the long journey to understanding the sensitivity of the region, the modes of self healing, and the long term damage done to an important part of our earth.
THE GREATEST ENVIRONMENTAL CATASTROPHE IN HISTORY
Major oil spills have caused billions of gallons of oil to pour into the environment in the last several decades. As the World Health Organization has pointed out, there are hardly any studies following the effects on the health of residents who live near those spills.
Dangerous chemicals need detoxification and neutralization by remedies that can antidote the effects of these complex compounds!
Oil is a mix of complex chemicals. It contains hydrocarbon compounds, some of them cancer-causing, others causing neurological and reproductive damage, as well as skin and lung problems. Sometimes crude oil has traces of mercury, lead and arsenic.
There are several ways an oil spill is harmful to human health. From evaporation or smoke as oil is burned, people can inhale volatile organic compounds and other hydrocarbons. Oil vapors can cause headaches, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, eye and throat irritation, and breathing difficulties. People who inhale large amounts of fumes are in danger of a chemical poisoning called hydrocarbon pneumonia.
CAUSES IRRITATION OF MUCUS MEMBRANES, BREATHING PROBLEMS INCLUDING ASTHMA
“Smoke from burning oil contains many chemicals; some are potentially lethal poisons and some are nuisance irritants, but even these nuisance irritants can trigger breathing problems in people with asthma or emphysema or other lung disease,” stated Dr. Marcel Casavant, chief of Pharmacology and Toxicology at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio.
NOT ONLY CAN THESE VAPORS DAMAGE LUNGS BUT ALSO THE AND CAUSE PREMATURE DEATH
The smoke from burning oil contains carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, volatile organics, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), hydrogen sulfide acidic aerosols and soot, solid particles embedded in tar. Particulate matter is very harmful to the lungs. Once inhaled, these particles can damage the heart and cause other serious health effects, including premature death in people with heart or lung disease.
EFFECTS ON GASTROINTESTINAL TRACT AND LIVER IN THOSE WITH WEAK IMMUNE SYSTEMS
Volatile organic compounds can lead to respiratory problems, allergic reactions and weakened immune systems. They are also associated with harmful effects on the gastrointestinal tract and liver.
VOLATILE CHEMICALS LINKED TO MISCARRIAGE
According to Dr. Gina Solomon, a senior scientist at the Natural Resources Defense Council and an associate clinical professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, some of the volatile chemicals have been linked to miscarriage, premature births and low birth weight.
BY DAMAGING THE FOOD CHAIN ALL ORGANISMS ARE HARMED
The oil spill can also damage human health indirectly, through absorption into the food chain. Oil floating on the water contaminates plankton, very small plants and animals. Small fish eat plankton, larger fish eat small fish, animals and humans eat large fish and other seafood: all ultimately ingest oil.
WE ARE NOW BEGINNING TO SEE THE DEVASTATION TO ALL LIFE
The Water Encyclopedia states, “Oil waste poisons the sensitive marine and coastal organic substrate, interrupting the food chain on which fish and sea creatures depend.... Wildlife other than fish and sea creatures, including mammals, reptiles, amphibians and birds that live in or near the ocean, are also poisoned by oil waste.”
INGESTING CONTAMINATED FOODS MAY LEAD TO CANCER & BRAIN DAMAGE
As people eat some of the components of the oil that is contaminating these food sources, the risk of getting cancer increases. “Contaminants in oil can persist for years and accumulate in the food chain, causing elevated cancer risks or neurological risks from exposure to heavy metals such as mercury,” writes Dr. Solomon.
THE ONGOING ENVIRONMENTAL DISASTER REMINDS US OF RACHEL CARLSON.
Some scientists are downplaying the real threats to human health from the massive oil spill. “This is an ecological event, rather than a human health problem,” says LuAnn White, professor of environmental health and toxicology at Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana.
THIS INFORMATION IS NOT NEW. VOICES HAVE BEEN CALLING OUT FOR YEARS
But oil-producing communities have complained about the health impacts linked to environmental toxins used in production. For instance, residents in Conecuh County, Alabama, have experienced headaches, open sores, miscarriages and other health effects, believed related to air and water contamination. In March 2006, an oil and gas company operating in Conecuh County was fined for releasing various compounds without permits, including hydrogen sulfide, a potentially deadly gas often associated with oil production in south Alabama. Residents have also noticed thick, unidentified foamy substances in water connected to their water wells.
WE CAN NO LONGER WEAR BLINDERS AND IGNORE THE RESULTS OF OUR POLICY DECISIONS REGARDING OIL, GAS, COAL, FUEL, AND ENVIRONMENTAL EFFECTS
The Oil and Gas Accountability Project describes the experience of a Colorado landowner who said, “When a well was being drilled near my house, the fumes were so strong that I passed out.”
In 2006, a Colorado Air Quality Control Commission report stated that oil and gas developments are the primary sources of the Denver region’s air pollution. In the Rocky Mountain region, the emission of sulfur dioxide has increased by 147 percent as a byproduct of petroleum production. The chemical aggravates heart and lung diseases and is poisonous at high levels.
INSTEAD OF TAKING RESPONSIBILITY, FULL DISCLOSURE AND TRANSPARENCY, LARGE CORPORATIONS WORK AROUND THE SYSTEM, SENDING THREATS AND FINALLY LEAVE THE PEOPLE TO FEND FOR THEMSELVES.
The Environmental Working Group and The Endocrine Disruption Exchange reported that 430 million gallons of chemical-laced fluids have been injected into oil and gas wells in Colorado, mainly to force out the petroleum. Halliburton Corp. has threatened to leave the state of Colorado if forced to disclose the chemicals it uses. The giant energy services company is responsible for cementing the deep-water drill hole in the current BP oil spill, which may have contributed to the failure of the well.
PEOPLE CAN'T DEFEND THEMSELVES IF CORPORATIONS ACT IN SECRECY