How safe is Gulf seafood?
Environmental Attorney Stuart H. Smith (Smith Stag LLC) thinks more scrutiny is needed. “Independent water and seafood testing and analyses by Gulf Oil Disaster Recovery experts reveal that highly toxic chemicals remain in the water and food chain. These toxins pose a significant risk to marine reproduction and human consumption of Gulf seafood.”
Smith says FDA data shows it might not have taken samples in contaminated waters, and the Gulf area needs at least eight more months to recover. Smith represents the United Commercial Fishermen’s Association, the Louisiana Environmental Action Network, public and private entities, and citizens harmed by the BP oil catastrophe.
“The greatest concern is the presence of chemicals known as PAHs (or polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons), which have carcinogenic properties. Our studies have shown that PAHs are present in shrimp from the impacted Gulf areas of the spill at 10 times the levels found in shrimp from inland, low-impacted areas,” says Smith.
In a page of definitions, the US Geological Survey says, “PAHs often are byproducts of petroleum processing or combustion. Many of these compounds are highly carcinogenic at relatively low levels.”
“BP’s use of dispersants at 5,000 feet below the sea surface caused PAHs and other toxic substances to remain in the seawater,” says Smith. “This means biodegradation of the toxins in crude oil is greatly reduced. It could be at least eight months before the toxic soup we are seeing in the Gulf experiences significant biodegradation, due to low temperatures, lack of sunlight and other factors,” he adds.
Dr. Samantha Joye, marine biologist and professor of marine sciences at the
“The impacts of the oil, gas and dispersant on the Gulf’s ecosystems will be felt for years, if not decades. We cannot pretend the danger has passed for it has not,” Joye warns.Smith insists that hasty decisions to re-open commercial fishing in selected off-shore areas, which provides seafood to consumers in