y Tom Termotto,
THE COMING OF THE BLACK WAVE
Nothing in our shared cultural experience will prepare us better for the oncoming Black Wave throughout
the Gulf of Mexico than the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill in Prince William
Sound, Alaska. And yet even this environmental catastrophe falls far
short of what is coming around the corner in the Gulf. Alaska is not
Florida, or Louisiana, or Texas. The Deep South summer here in
Tallahassee, FL has been as hot and humid as any we’ve seen. This
weather pattern is what will distinguish the BP Gulf Oil Spill from the
Exxon Valdez just as the total volume of the spill and use of
relentless cycle of low pressure systems throughout the Gulf of Mexico
during the summer season is instrumental in keeping the many toxic
vapors close to the surface of the Gulf, as well as the many coastal
communities that rim her. We are not only talking about petroleum VOC’s
(volatile organic compounds) and the dispersant chemicals found in
COREXIT and the hovering methane gas concentrations. We are also talking
about the inevitable interactions and synergies among these chemical
contaminants that produce much more powerful combinations, especially
when they co-exist in such a conducive environment as the Gulf of Mexico
hot and humid stewpot.
realities in the water, and in the air, ought to be known by anyone
participating in cleanup and recovery operations anywhere in the Gulf.
To ignore them is to do so at great peril. The water has been polluted
to a degree never seen on such a grand scale in US Territorial Waters.
There simply is no precedent here. The Caspian Sea in Asia is a known
petrochemical cesspool, which is so dead that all the bordering nations
have given up on her and mercilessly plunder her depths for oil. How far
behind is the Gulf of Mexico in the wake of this spill. If you value
your health, you ought not to eat seafood from the Gulf. If you value
your health, you ought not to swim in the Gulf? If you value the health
of your children, sensitive and delicate as they are during their
formative stages, the affected Gulf Coast beaches are no longer a safe
and healthy place on which to walk. Nor is wading in the water a safe
practice until we know its true status.
The Black Wave of
which we speak has many more aspects than the ones we have been hearing
about in the mainstream media. There are dimensions that none have ever
dared to whisper because it would mean the end of the Oil & Gas
Industry for good. There are also phases of progression and
retrogression of any oil spill, which will occur over the unique
lifetime of this BP Gulf Oil Spill. As Mother Nature employs the
tincture of time, Her ever so loyal elements will inexorably serve to
heal all that requires healing on land, in the waters, and within the
littoral regions to include the marshes, wetlands and estuaries.
However, the process of healing will take time … perhaps a long time.
Known and very popular cialis coupon which gives all the chance to receive a discount for a preparation which has to be available and exactly cialis coupons has been found in the distant room of this big house about which wood-grouses in the houses tell.
What do you get when you mix
with oil dispersant (COREXIT),
with radioactive effluent,
with surface-burning oil slicks (petroleum+dispersant),
with lots of dead marine life of every sort and kind
in the Gulf of Mexico during a hot and humid summer?
toxic petrochemical stew which is neither safe to eat from, nor swim
in. The affected beaches, wetlands, marshes and estuaries should also be
viewed with great caution, or avoided altogether.
Many in the MSM have been trumpeting the miraculous recovery of the Gulf of Mexico in the wake of the successful capping
of the gushing oil well at the Macondo Prospect. Of course there are
also those from whom common sense has not fled. Thankfully, we still
have among us reasonable people who are able to utilize the human
faculty of reason. We pray that there will be many others who will
understand the simple facts of life in the Gulf, which has taken on an
awesome toxic burden – a toxic load of various chemicals, pollutants,
contaminants, and poisons that ought to be dealt with very carefully and
with great circumspection.
Oil & Petroleum Derivatives:
though the WashPo recently published the account of 4.9 million barrels
having been spilled into the Gulf of Mexico, our estimate is much
closer to 9 million barrels of hydrocarbon effluent plus other
components. The geyser gushed for just under 90 days, along with two
other wells which gushed for a shorter period of time. Our calculation
X 100,000 barrels per day = 8.7 million barrels of hydrocarbon effluent
(oil + methane + particulates [sand, stones, gravel, debris from deep
Factoid – It only takes 1 barrel of oil to effectively pollute one million barrels of seawater.
and its many derivatives bio-accumulate within living organisms and
will concentrate in adipose tissue in human beings. It contains many
different chemical constituents that will break down, each of which
possesses different levels of toxicity to marine and human life.
oil is a mixture of many different kinds of organic compounds, many of
which are highly toxic and cancer causing (carcinogenic). Oil is
“acutely lethal” to fish, that is, it kills fish quickly at a
concentration of 4000 parts per million (ppm) (0.4%). “It only takes
one quart of motor oil to make 250,000 gallons of ocean water toxic to
wildlife.” This would be a concentration of only 1 ppm. Crude oil and
petroleum distillates cause birth defects.
is present in both crude oil and gasoline and is known to cause
leukemia in humans. The compound is also known to lower the white
blood cell count in humans, which would leave people exposed to it more
susceptible to infections. “Studies have linked benzene exposure in
the mere parts per billion (ppb) range to terminal leukemia, Hodgkins
lymphoma, and other blood and immune system diseases within 5-15 years
of exposure.” ” (Per Wikipedia)
“Benzene exposure at below 1 part per million (1 ppm) causes hematotoxicity in exposed workers.” (Per Gulf Oil Spill Truth)
high methane gas concentrations have been measured at many different
locations throughout the Gulf and can migrate over Coastal communities
with the right meteorological push. CH4, aka methane, can produce many
symptoms depending on the concentration and duration of exposure.
What are the main health hazards associated with breathing in methane?
is not toxic below the lower explosive limit of 5% (50000 ppm).
However, when methane is present at high concentrations, it acts as an
asphyxiant. Asphyxiants displace oxygen in the air and can cause
symptoms of oxygen deprivation (asphyxiation). The available oxygen
should be a minimum of 18% or harmful effects will result. Methane
displaces oxygen to 18% in air when present at 14% (140000 ppm). It is
not expected to cause unconsciousness (narcosis) due to central nervous
system depression until it reaches much higher concentrations (30% or
300000 ppm) – well above the lower explosive limit and asphyxiating
Effects of oxygen deficiency are:
12-16% – breathing and pulse rate are increased, with slight muscular incoordination;
10-14% – emotional upsets, abnormal fatigue from exertion, disturbed respiration;
6-10% – nausea and vomiting, inability to move freely, collapse, possible lack of consciousness;
below 6% – convulsive movements, gasping, possible respiratory collapse and death.
exercise increases the body’s need for oxygen, symptoms will occur more
quickly during exertion in an oxygen-deficient environment. Survivors
of oxygen deprivation may show damage to some or all organs including
the central nervous system and the brain. These effects may or may not
be reversible with time, depending on the degree and duration of the low
oxygen and the amount of tissue injury.” (Per Canadian Centre for
Occupational Health & Safety)
significant environmental impact caused by methane is the rapid
depletion of oxygen in the aquatic environment. This will have many
adverse effects on all marine life, especially those aerobic microbes
that assist in bio-degrading the petroleum. Their oil-eating
effectiveness will surely be compromised, just as all other aerobic
organisms will suffer due to hypoxia (insufficient oxygen).
total volume of COREXIT dispersant released in and on the Gulf is still
being hotly debated. However, in light of the intractable pattern of
both non-disclosure and misinformation practiced by BP, as well as the
interference run by the Coast Guard over the course of this saga, what
can we believe?
guarded estimate of the total volume of dispersant used by BP both
subsea and on the surface is fast approaching two (2) million gallons of
The exact calculation, based upon formal reports filed as of August 2, is as follows:
Surface dispersant used: 1, 072,514 gallons
Subsea dispersant used: 771,272 gallons
Total dispersant used: 1,843,786 gallons
The following link points to an article, which contains the very telling statement:
some scientists say the chemical mixture, which at one point was being
released at a rate of about 70,000 gallons a day, causes more harm than
good, and may have contributed to huge plumes of hydrocarbons below the
ocean’s surface. The fact that Corexit now seems to have been so widely
used also poses the question of who, exactly, is calling the shots in
following article lays bare some of the greatest concerns by those in
the field of toxicology. Dr. Shaw offers some invaluable toxicological
Dr. Shaw offered a stark analysis of Corexit 9500 in her piece for The New York Times.
all dispersants are potentially dangerous when applied in such volumes,
Corexit  is particularly toxic,” she wrote. “It contains
petroleum solvents and a chemical that, when ingested, ruptures red
blood cells and causes internal bleeding. It is also bioaccumulative,
meaning its concentration intensifies as it moves up the food chain.”
Speaking to CNN on Friday, her message was a bit more dire.
ruptures red blood cells, causes internal bleeding and liver and kidney
damage,” Dr. Shaw said. “This stuff is so toxic — combined, it’s not
the oil alone, it’s not the dispersant — the dispersed oil that still
contains this stuff, it’s very, very toxic and it goes right through
interaction with petroleum is particularly troubling in that dispersed
oil causes a much higher rate of mortality in fish than either the oil
or dispersant alone. As compared with only oil, Corexit-laden oil is
four times more lethal; dispersed oil is ten times more deadly than the
dispersant alone. (See detailed analysis below)
Radioactive Hydrocarbon Effluent:
there is the radioactive component of the hydrocarbon effluent that
comes from mantle-generated abiotic oil and which irrefutably possesses
higher levels of radium isotopes. The deeper the petroleum reserves, the
more likely the reservoirs of oil and methane in those geological
formations will contain uranium, thorium or radium. Given the elevated
levels of radioactivity at the source, the level of radioactivity
associated with the hydrocarbon effluent coming out of the well will
inevitably be impacted.
is very important to note that the American Petroleum Institute
acknowledges the existence of radium in the development of oil and gas
prospects. Their website prescribes very specific standard operating
procedures when certain levels of radioactivity are measured on site or
in the equipment. The seriousness of this matter can pertain to any oil
and gas drilling and development operations anywhere in the world.
isotopes have inherent health risks that ought to be identified and
properly disseminated. The concerned resident of the Gulf Coast may want
to initiate him/herself in the area of health impacts due to long-term
exposure to low grade radioactivity. Of course, the seafood, the waters
and the beaches all provide different vehicles for such contamination to
take place, each with varying consequences.
Oil Burned On The Surface Of The Gulf:
has been estimated that 11.1 million gallons of oil have been burned on
the surface of the Gulf thus far. The resulting aerosolizing of the
hydrocarbon chemical constituents, along with the dispersant chemical
constituents will produce vectors of dissemination that must be further
studied. Such a high concentration of harmful airborne chemicals and
contaminants, especially if there is a radioactive component, could pose
a great health risk to all life residing downwind from the surface
could even see similarities to Gulf War Syndrome experienced by US
Service Members who were downwind from the burning oil fields in Kuwait.
Parallels to Gulf War Syndrome:
the First Gulf War in Iraq, many service members returned home only to
be plagued by what came to be known as Gulf War Syndrome. As a matter of
fact, there were so many different variants of this syndrome, depending
on the service members time and place of duty (and therefore
exposures), that many healthcare practitioners recognized a Gulf War
Syndrome I, II, III and so on. Each one had it own unique signatures
that produced different symptoms and illnesses.
most serious result of Gulf War Syndrome variants were the numerous
instances where the veterans subsequently had children who were deformed
or who had defects that were directly the result of genetic mutation.
Could a toxic cocktail of pre-war vaccinations and exposure to oil well
fires produce such an effect so quickly? Not likely, unless there was
much more to (and in) the vaccine regimen that we do not know. However
there is one thing we have learned about the development of oil and gas
reserves which we did not know until recently.
is a radioactive component found within geological formation from where
oil and gas are pulled. This fact has been scientifically documented by
the American Petroleum Institute, as well as by many petroleum
engineers, geologists and scientists from around the world for many
years. Curiously it is rarely ever talked about and even denied in some
circles, as it would have probably caused the demise of the entire
now appears that the US service members who suffered the most, and
especially those who bore children with unusual and inexplicable defects
were directly exposed to radioactive hydrocarbons. When Saddam Hussein
ordered the destruction of the oil and gas wells by setting them on
fire, Iraq was transformed into a sort of Oil & Gas Armageddon.
Whoever was present was exposed to these toxic and potentially
radioactive fumes. And since they were breathed in, it translated to a
much quicker physical manifestation in the human body. Ultimately the
black, acrid smoke would find numerous vectors of dissemination, which
would allow the toxic constituents to settle on the ground, on the
vegetation and food, and in the water bodies and courses.
consequent aerosol toxic brew is certainly one that is not too unlike
what is occurring this very moment throughout the Gulf of Mexico. As BP
et al. has taken to burning the many oil slicks and oil plumes that are
being aggregated, we see a very similar set of circumstances, which
could very well contribute to a future BP Gulf Oil Spill Syndrome.
Dead & Contaminated Marine Life Working Its Way Up The Gulf’s Food Chain:
we have a Gulf of Mexico that is replete with dead organisms both
microscopic (phytoplankton) and leviathan (whales). This does include
plant and animal life of great diversity. Vast swaths of the food chain
have been toxified and poisoned by the current petrochemical brew, which
by all appearances may appear to be normal. However, ….
is where it takes a seasoned observer and astute investigator applying
all the necessary scientific process and procedure to accurately
diagnose the true condition of this traumatized body of water. All
chemicals don’t merely break down instantaneously, as we often hear from
the Oil & Gas Industry wordsmiths. As a matter of fact, many are
ultimately reduced to such a state that they will have no where to go
but to bio-accumulate within the tissues of living organisms. These
various chemicals are currently being evaluated for their degree of
toxicity and reactivity in vivo (within living organisms).
is no question that, given the total volume of oil and dispersant
currently in the Gulf, there will inevitably be substantial and dire
consequences to the entire food chain. Particularly as the larvae at the
bottom of this chain pick up the various chemicals and contaminants,
and are subsequently eaten by larger and then larger marine animals, we
will see threats emerge to that segment of the human population which
continues to eat the seafood from the Gulf. GREAT time to become a
Deep South Weather Pattern:
are in the throes of an extremely hot and humid weather pattern here in
the Deep South. The Low Pressure Systems forming over the Gulf of
Mexico have been relentless since the BP Gulf Oil Spill first began.
These are characterized by low cloud cover, little air movement, high
humidity and very hot conditions which make it ideal for aerosolized
chemicals and toxins to hang close to the surface of the Gulf. This
predominant weather pattern has created a very hospitable environment
for an exacerbation of the many symptoms associated with the
aforementioned chemical exposures.
The blood brain barrier is
a “chemical labyrinth that prevents toxins and viruses in the
bloodstream from reaching the brain”. However, this layer is only four
cells thick around the olfactory nerve, where it is more tenuous and not
an integral barrier. This very delicate and attenuated structure in the
nasal system will therefore provide a point of entry into the brain for
harmful toxins which are airborne. For those out on the Gulf who are
exposed to VOC’s (volatile organic compounds) in the air, they ought to
have respirators around any oil cleanup operations. Not to wear one
utilize puts their health in peril, which can manifest in the following
nose, and throat irritation; headaches, loss of coordination, nausea;
damage to liver, kidney, and central nervous system. Some organics can
cause cancer in animals; some are suspected or known to cause cancer in
humans. Key signs or symptoms associated with exposure to VOCs include
conjunctival irritation, nose and throat discomfort, headache, allergic
skin reaction, dyspnea, declines in serum cholinesterase levels, nausea,
emesis, epistaxis, fatigue, dizziness.
ability of organic chemicals to cause health effects varies greatly
from those that are highly toxic, to those with no known health effect.
As with other pollutants, the extent and nature of the health effect
will depend on many factors including level of exposure and length of
time exposed. Eye and respiratory tract irritation, headaches,
dizziness, visual disorders, and memory impairment are among the
immediate symptoms that some people have experienced soon after exposure
to some organics.” (Per US Environmental Protection Agency)
Parallels to 911 Toxic Dust Syndrome:
The many first responders who showed up at the 911 rubble pile in NYC suffer from a unique malady known as 911 Toxic Dust Syndrome.
And although it has yet to be officially recognized by the US Federal
Government, it has a specific set of baseline symptoms which are
exhibited by many, even those who were present when the Twin Towers came
down. There are many who lived and worked in the same general vicinity
who also experience symptoms to this day.
health and medical records of many first responders who have passed
away since 911 will also reveal that they exhibited none of these unique
symptoms prior to 911. Therefore, many of these deaths were caused
directly by a disease process that was triggered by their exposure to
the aerosolized toxic dust that came to permeate a large swath of lower
Manhattan. These same records will also reveal a similar pattern of
health issues and medical diagnoses which is very similar to those who
are still living with the pain and suffering associated with 911 TOXIC DUST SYNDROME.
of the real tragedies of the 911 saga is that the EPA assured the
people of NYC, and especially the cleanup workers, that everything was
okay with air quality when it was obvious to everyone else in the world
that it was not okay. If it sounds familiar then it is probably because
you either read or heard the following story.
one of the most recent examples of deliberate disinformation,
misinformation and false information disseminated by the
corporate/government/media juggernaut regarding the BP Gulf Oil Spill.
The new and improved BP
PR Campaign that is addressing the environmental health aspects of this
oil spill has gone into full gear in order to assure everyone that everything is okay. BP’s COO, Doug Suttles is quoted as follows:
chief operating officer sought to give the southern US fishing industry
a much-need boost Sunday, saying he’d “absolutely” eat Gulf of Mexico
seafood after the massive oil spill devastated the region.”
here at the Gulf Oil Spill Remediation Conference in Tallahassee, FL,
would very much like to audit the actual seafood sources from which Mr.
Suttles takes his daily lunch and evening supper over the next twelve
months. We would also ask that he partakes of at least one meal a day
which includes seafood from the Gulf of Mexico, specifically from within
a one hundred mile radius of the Macondo Prospect. At the end of the
first year we will have our physicians standing by to conduct either an
autopsy or the appropriate pathology procedures that would be required
at that point of evolution of the most likely diseases to be caused by
oil and COREXIT poisoning.
Interactions, Synergies, & Dangerous Combinations:
area of research that studies the effects of different combinations of
these chemical constituents is at an alarmingly rudimentary stage of
development. Therefore, we really do not know the long-term effects of
the various chemicals that, through synergistic interactions, can ramp
up their level of toxicity in living organisms. Because we are
particularly concerned about the deleterious effects to human life, it
may be very difficult to ever assess these health risks. Who among us
would avail our person to such exposures for the sake of testing?
We can make the following three (3) statements about oil, dispersant (Corexit 9500) and dispersed oil. As follows:
10.72 parts per million (ppm) of oil alone will kill 50% of the fish
test species in a normal aquatic environment within 96 hours.
25.20 parts per million of dispersant (Corexit 9500) alone will kill
50% of the fish test species in a normal aquatic environment within 96
(3) 2.61 parts per million
of dispersed oil (Corexit-laden) alone will kill 50% of the fish test
species in a normal aquatic environment within 96 hours.
you can see from the above statements, there is a very definite
synergistic effect that directly results from the interaction between
the oil and dispersant. Together they create a much more toxic
environment, and should be considered very seriously when seafood is
known to be coming from those locations.
there other more dangerous combinations to be aware of? We don’t know
and toxicologists usually study isolated chemical compounds rather than
researching the results of their various combinations.
of the Story: What we do not know may hurt us. And in some cases it may
take years to show up as a symptom or a disease. Perhaps it is better
to err on the side of caution where it concerns our precious health.
state of affairs also illustrates how unintended consequences,
collateral damage and toxic side effects all collide in a rather finite
system called the Gulf of Mexico with far-reaching ramifications.
Contrary to what the BP spinmeisters convey to the media and government,
the Gulf IS full of
oil. Because some of it has been dispersed into tiny droplets, doesn’t
mean it isn’t there. Because much of the spilled oil exists in many
different locations, as well as in different conditions, and is out of
sight, out of mind, doesn’t mean it’s not there. Oil doesn’t just
disappear, as some would have us believe!
The pools on the undersea floor are under extremely high pressure and
very low temperature, and therefore require a uniquely creative
(2) The plumes at, above and below the midline exhibit there own behavior and challenges.
The surface plumes, oil slicks and screens are more easily addressed
except when they migrate into the wetlands, marshes and littoral
regions. These predicaments pose great challenges no matter what the
solutions, especially when they coat the beaches, as the sun and heat
and gravity encourage the oil to sink into the sand as it did in Prince
William Sound, Alaska after the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill.
what Admiral Thad Allen of the Coast Guard BP Oil Spill Response Team
said about the difficulty of dealing with oil accumulations scattered
throughout the Gulf:
we have is an aggregation of hundreds of thousands of patches of oil
and the challenge is to find out where they are at right now because
they are widely dispersed,” said U.S. spill response chief Thad Allen.
further on the patches, Allen relented: “Maybe patches is a misnomer on
my part. What we’re seeing are mats, patties, small concentrations,
very hard to detect, but they’re out there.” (Per canada.com
Obvious Health and Medical Impacts:
will no doubt show up as they always do to help this process of getting
things back to normal. However, normal will never return in our
lifetimes, and we should therefore seek to protect ourselves from all
that can do harm in several different ways.
the end of the day the mental and emotional health repercussions of
this disaster will be the most salient. From all with whom we have
spoken, we have heard the same litany of mental and emotional problems
which seem to surface wherever theBlack Wave appears.
As the social fabric slowly tears, so do the many support systems upon
which we all rely weaken, especially during these already quite
of these psychological maladies are directly related to loss. Loss of
job, loss of business, and loss of financial security are some examples.
So are loss of health, loss of relationships, and loss of access to the
beach. We also see loss of home, loss of a way of life and loss of
traditional foods. Fisherman can no longer go out in their boats;
beachgoers forgo their morning shelling routine; joggers take to the
pavement instead of the sand.
are numerous symptoms, ailments and illnesses that are the direct
result of exposure to an oil spill which can be gleaned from various
sources. Some of these resources have been provided by organizations
that have been directly involved with oil spill mitigation and
remediation. In some cases they have been able to closely follow the
development of disease in any given population, which was exposed to
many of the same chemical contaminants that are found at different oil
spill sites throughout the world.
HEALTHCARE SOLUTIONS AND RESOURCES
Gulf Oil Spill Health Hazards
BLACK WAVE: The Legacy of the Exxon Valdez
Minimizing Adverse Health Effects Through Transparency & Intelligent Mitigation Responses
Environmental Health Impacts
have before us a defining moment in American history. An entire region
of the country has been beset with a manmade environmental catastrophe,
the effects of which will be felt for generations. How do we respond to
the Black Wave?
How de we deal with a foreign, multi-national corporation that is as
addicted to oil as it is to deception?! How do we respond to the Federal
Government that demonstrates a similar pattern of disinformation?!
ask these questions in the face of the many health and medical impacts
that are most assuredly coming down the pike. More than ever we need our
focus and energy directed at the real health challenges and subsequent
medical issues which will emerge if we are not aware and well informed.
Where there is true and accurate information, there can be informed and
wise decisions about how we can continue to live our lives in a healthy
manner along the Gulf Coast of Mexico.
Dr. Tom Termotto, BCIM, DCAE
Gulf Oil Spill Remediation Conference (International Citizens’ Initiative)
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