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Contamination in the Gulf after the Spill

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The huge damage caused by the BP oil disaster in the gulf caused massive contamination of wildlife and the surrounding coastline. While the massive oil gusher has been sealed for several months, the consequences are still being felt. However, the corporate media have gone silent on the continuing contamination of the food chain resulting from the disaster.

As recently as October 23, 2010, a flight over the West Bay of the Mississippi Delta revealed massive slicks of oil floating on the surface of the bay. While the Coast Guard has dismissed this phenomenon as an “algal bloom,” local fishermen disagree.

“I scooped some up, and it feels like oil, looks like oil, is brownish red like all the dispersed oil we’ve been seeing since this whole thing started,” said fisherman David Arenesen, from Venice, Louisiana. “It doesn’t look like algae to me. Algae doesn’t stick on your fingers, and algae isn’t oily,” he said. “The area of this stuff spans an area of 30 miles, from Southwest Pass almost all the way over to Grand Isle, and runs very far off-shore too. We rode through it for over 20 miles while we were going out to fish, I dipped some up, and it’s oil.”

It is likely that oil and the poisonous dispersant used by BP to hide the scope of the spill is entering the food chain and finding its way to consumers. Such toxins are cancerous and the effects are not likely to manifest themselves for years after ingestion.

According to Dr. Kevin Kleinow, a toxicologist at Louisiana State University, the dispersants used to break up oil on the surface of the Gulf of Mexico increases access of non-remediated oil to the fish, thus causing select toxic compounds in the oil to be absorbed more rapidly, making it harder for the fish to excrete those compounds.

As a result, toxins from oil contamination enter the food chain and eventually make their way into the food we eat.

This disaster reflects the profit motive that drives the capitalist system. The disaster itself was a product of BP’s negligence, with safety precautions being undermined to increase short term profits. While the massive oil leak has been plugged for months and most of the visible oil has been removed, the dispersants used and the oil that has settled on the floor of the Gulf of Mexico will continue to have negative consequences for years to come.

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