Wednesday, June 12, 2019

One More Reason I Don't Trust Trudeau

I was really shocked three years ago to learn that the federal government's environment ministry had approved Corexit for use as an oil dispersant in the case of a major spill.  I wrote a post, "Ah, Jesus - Not Corexit!!" It linked to two items from Vice News about this product and the devastation it leaves in its wake, devastation that includes poisoning those who come into contact with it, killing some of them.

Now there's a piece in Mother Jones about the Deepwater Horizon disaster nine years ago and how Corexit still afflicts those clean up crews.  Journalist, Rocky Kistner, was there nine years ago.
I can remember riding offshore with local fishermen and seeing their expressions turn from curiosity to fear as we found the thick, nauseating slicks floating toward shore. They realized their livelihoods would be turned upside down by the powerful explosion. It was America’s greatest oil spill disaster, a catastrophe that left a tarry trail of toxic oil and dead marine life across four states. And for many people who live in the region, the calamity is still not over.

...We know far more about the dispersants now than we did in 2010. At the time, very little effectiveness and safety testing had been conducted on the oil cleanup chemicals. Reports circulated that Corexit was as safe as Dawn dish soap and that its ingredients, initially kept secret by the manufacturer, Nalco Holdings, were also found in ice-cream and toothpaste. “We believe Corexit 9500 is very safe,” a Nalco chemist insisted after the blowout happened. BP agreed. It even bought a third of the global Corexit supply at the time.

But experts knew dispersants contained toxic ingredients. EPA regulators grew concerned that the Corexit spray might put first responders and residents at risk. The agency ordered BP to switch to a less toxic dispersant early in the spill, but BP resisted, saying the chemicals were an effective way to fight the growing oil disaster. EPA ultimately backed down as more oil poured ashore, a conclusion that then EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson called one of the “toughest decisions” she ever made.
...Today, the science on the health effects of dispersants is catching up. A 2013 study found that Corexit made oil 52-times more toxic to certain marine life. In 2017, a landmark National Institutes of Environmental Health Sciences study of tens of thousands of oil cleanup workers found that those exposed to dispersants had increased risks of symptoms like coughing, wheezing, and burning eyes and lungs. A 2018 Johns Hopkins study found that oil dispersants increased the concentration of ultrafine particles, which can travel miles through the air and penetrate human lungs. And last year a Coast Guard study, based on self-reporting from 4,800 service personnel, found a relationship between increased exposure to dispersants and the likelihood of symptoms including coughing and shortness of breath. “There’s clearly something going on with acute symptoms,” says Jennifer Rusiecki, an epidemiologist who’s been studying data from sickened Coast Guard personnel. “The longer-term effects we don’t know yet.”
Petro-states are notorious dissemblers. They lie. It's in their nature, part of their political DNA. It doesn't make much difference whether it's Stephen Harper or Justin Trudeau at the wheel.

In case you haven't seen it, here's the original expose from Vice that aired in February, 2015. Watch it and then tell me why I or, for that matter, anyone should find this acceptable.


Anonymous said...

Ken Lee, a rather brainy scientist who used to work on oil spill cleanup at and from the Fed's Bedford Institute of Oceanography in Dartmouth NS, has a somewhat more balanced view than these all to one side eco-discourses we seem to be expected to rally behind as a matter of faith. DDT and Round-Up we know enough about to dun them. Corexit is somewhat different.

Lee left the Feds in 2012, at the time being regarded as Canada's leading expert on oilspill cleanup. Well harper knew more than him, right? And in fact any scientist in Canada. Mr Lee is a bold opiniated guy in person, quite dominating, and I've met him many times in the past. Lee was hired by the US to assist in the Gulf oil cleanup, then went to work in Australia for six years. He's back in Canada now.

Two years ago, he was interviewed from Australia by CBC Radio Halifax about Corexit; he was at pains to make sure they understood oil-cleanup situations in general before tackling Corexit specifically. So you have to listen to the end. Frankly, I'd believe him before some single issue person. He has no axe to grind.


The Mound of Sound said...

"All to one side eco-discourses" BM? John Hopkins, the United States Coast Guard, the National Institute of Environmental Health, the EPA, a substantial number of peer-reviewed studies and papers. That sounds one-sided to you? Those are "single-issue persons"?

BTW, forget the interview. Where do I find Ken's research, his papers? Or is his radio interview from Australia enough to refute the actual science?

Anonymous said...

We must pay strict attention to the scientific truths. It is the only thing we have to put down all the corporate lies. Anyong