Going Against the New Narrative – the University of Georgia, the American Medical Association and Mississippi Fishermen

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Wow, yesterday was a bad day for the official story, you know…that storyline that says the Gulf of Mexico is rapidly recovering, 75% of the oil is gone, the seafood is safe and how it is now time for everyone to live happily ever after with the reopened fishing areas? Well, to believe the American Medical Association, the University of Georgia and some fisherman taking water samples in Mississippi, the facts are remarkably different. The AMA commented on cleanup workers who appear to be suffering from exposure, listed the medical problems that can be caused by said exposure to oil and dispersants while making some recommendations for Gulf Coast residents. Then the University of Georgia completed a study which found the facts from the National Incident Command study are wrong and being widely misinterpreted, and those fisherman in Mississippi? They took independent water samples and discovered evidence of oil and dispersants contaminating their oyster beds and shrimping grounds, the same grounds the state of Mississippi recently reopened.


The American Medical Association

In their online journal the AMA commented on the symptoms of apparent oil and dispersant exposure in more than 300 workers in Louisiana, 75% of which were cleanup workers…these symptoms were headaches, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, cough, respiratory distress and chest pain, all common when people are exposed to hydrocarbons or hydrogen sulfide, prevalent in crude oil and its fumes.

As further example to medical doctors in the region of what to watch out for, the report also identified previous health problems of cleanup workers and residents from other oil spills:

A survey of the health status of workers 14 years after the Exxon Valdez cleanup found a greater prevalence of symptoms of chronic airway disease among workers with high oil exposures, as well as self reports of neurological impairments and multiple chemical sensitivity…one study of 6780 fisherman, which included 4271 oil spill cleanup workers, found a higher prevalence of lower respiratory tract symptoms 2 years after the oil spill cleanup activities. The risk of lower respiratory tract symptoms increased with the intensity of exposure…a study of 858 individuals involved in the cleanup of the Prestige oil spill in Spain in 2002 investigated acute genetic toxicity in volunteers and workers. Increased DNA damage, as assessed by the Comet assay, was found in volunteers, especially in those working on the beaches.

The AMA report concluded with some recommendations for community residents, suggesting that people should not fish in areas where there is evidence of oil and avoid direct skin contact with contaminated water, oil or tar balls. If residents notice a strong odor of oil or chemicals and are concerned about hazardous effects, they should seek refuge in air conditioned homes.

All in all, according to the official narrative, the AMA report should be of little concern. Just wear safety equipment and stay away from direct exposure, and with the National Incident Command reporting two weeks ago how 75% of the oil is gone, staying away from direct contact should be fairly simple. The President went swimming in the Gulf after all, showing everyone just how safe the water actually is, that is…unless Carol Browner and the NIH report are wrong.

Georgia Sea Grant Study: University of Georgia

The findings of the (NIH) report are being widely reported in the news media as suggesting that 75% of the oil is “gone” and only 25% remains. However, many independent scientists are interpreting the findings differently, with some suggesting that less than 10% is “gone” and up to 90% remains a threat to the ecosystem…the news media’s tendency to interpret “dispersed” and “dissolved” as “gone” is wrong. Dispersed and dissolved forms can be highly toxic.

There have been no oceanographic surveys measuring the entire breadth of the subsurface oil plume, only cruises targeting specific regions of interest to the scientific community. Thus, we can only estimate how much remains below the surface. However, after accounting for oil that has been skimmed and burned (10% collectively), evaporated (8-12%) and degraded (4-8%), we estimate that the oil remaining at or below the surface is between 70 and 79% or between 2.9 and 3.2 million barrels.

The Georgia report also identifies concerns about air quality, the oil moving into the Atlantic Ocean via the Gulf Stream and recommends a number of studies be done to get an entirely accurate assessment of the true impact of the oil in the Gulf waters. Numerous times in their report they mention the withholding of data that is impeding analysis of the ecosystem; this data being held tight by the Government and British Petroleum.

Fisherman in Mississippi Testing Waters Opened for Fishing

From the article in Truthout:

On Monday, August 9, the Director of the State of Mississippi Department of Marine Resources (DMR), Bill Walker, despite ongoing reports of tar balls, oil and dispersants being found in Mississippi waters, declared, “there should be no new threats” and issued an order for all local coast governments to halt ongoing oil disaster work being funded by BP money that was granted to the state. Mississippi residents and fishermen Truthout spoke with believe Walker’s move was from an order given by Gov. Haley Barbour, who has been heavily criticized over the years for his lobbying on behalf of the Tobacco and Oil industries.

Two days after Walker’s announcement and in response to claims from state and federal officials that Gulf Coast waters are safe and clean, fishermen took their own samples from the waters off of Pass Christian in Mississippi. The samples were taken in water that is now open for shrimping, as well as from waters directly over Mississippi’s oyster bed, that will likely open in September for fishing. Commercial fisherman James “Catfish” Miller, took fishermen Danny Ross Jr. and Mark Stewart, along with scientist Dr. Ed Cake of Gulf Environmental Associates and others out and they found the fishing grounds to be contaminated with oil and dispersants.

Also reported in the article are the testimonies from a number of area fisherman who claim the Coast Guard and British Petroleum continue to spray dispersants in the area to sink the oil, and if true…the waters that have been reopened for fishing are not only experiencing oil sheen but continue to be sprayed with dispersants both by boat and also bombed by planes from the air. The Coast Guard denies this is the case, but these stories of the continued use of dispersants, all done under the cover of night, is a technique still being reported by many throughout the Gulf Coast.

It should also be noted the fishermen quoted in the article by Truthout are complaining of the following symptoms: chronic headaches, nasal problems and metallic tastes in their mouths, and this brings us full circle back to the report by the AMA where similar symptoms were described in people who experienced exposure to crude oil and dispersants.

If the oil is gone as so claimed by the official storyline, this shouldn’t be the case, the point being…the official story is bullshit.

All one need do is ask one simple question in determining the validity of these reports.

Who benefits and who loses?

In the official storyline that all is well, the people who benefit are British Petroleum and the various offices of the government. British Petroleum gains financially. Dispersed oil cannot be counted or seen and this works in their favor financially and from a public relations standpoint. The Federal government also gets good PR, shows progress in the fight against the spill and can hold feel good photo opportunities for the benefit of the press while various agencies get to say that the water, the air and the food is safe. The governors in the various regions, governors such as Haley Barbour can point to clean beaches and water that appears clear. This benefits his potential presidential run, not to mention an influx of tourist dollars that make local businesses happy, which in turn makes him happy. On one hand, it would also seem to be good news for fisherman, reopened fishing grounds return them to work, but on the other hand…if the food they bring to market turns out to be bad, this will impact their reputations and their product and livelihoods for years to come, a fact that is not lost in the growing concerns of many in their line of work.

As far as the AMA and the University of Georgia, what do they gain?

The AMA gain little while the University of Georgia by producing this study open themselves up to attack by everyone who stands to profit from the new narrative. So I would imagine they would have to be quite confident in their facts before releasing them to the general public. And the fisherman…once again they pay the biggest price. They have to discern through the contradictory information and decide what to do; it is their livelihoods at stake, again…just as it has been since the Deepwater Horizon exploded.

Also from the Truthout article, at a meeting after being presented with evidence the oil is still in their fishing grounds:

The fishermen unanimously supported a petition calling for the firing of Dr. Walker, the head of Mississippi’s DMR, who is responsible for opening the fishing grounds.

Good show.

Read the reports:

Health Effects of the Gulf Oil Spill – Journal of the American Medical Association

Georgia Sea Grant Oil Spill Update – University of Georgia

Uncovering the Lies That Are Sinking the Oil – Truthout

Have a nice day.

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