Wednesday, June 30, 2010

EPA Testing Oil Dispersants: Do we trust the results?

You decide.
ENVIRO-NEWS: EPA Releases First Round of Toxicity Testing Data for Eight Oil Dispersants

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: "Makuch, Joseph" <>
Date: Jun 30, 2010 3:39 PM
Subject: [ENVIRO-NEWS] EPA Releases First Round of Toxicity Testing Data for Eight Oil Dispersants
To: <>

From: U.S. EPA []
Sent: Wednesday, June 30, 2010 2:39 PM
Subject: BP Oil Spill Response Update: EPA Releases First Round of
Toxicity Testing Data for Eight Oil Dispersants


June 30, 2010

EPA Releases First Round of Toxicity Testing Data for Eight Oil

WASHINGTON -The US Environmental Protection Agency today released peer
reviewed results from the first round of its own independent toxicity
testing on eight oil dispersants. EPA conducted testing to ensure that
decisions about ongoing dispersant use in the Gulf of Mexico continue to
be grounded in the best available science.

EPA's results indicated that none of the eight dispersants tested,
including the product in use in the Gulf, displayed biologically
significant endocrine disrupting activity. While the dispersant products
alone - not mixed with oil - have roughly the same impact on aquatic
life, JD-2000 and Corexit 9500 were generally less toxic to small fish
and JD-2000 and SAF-RON GOLD were least toxic to mysid shrimp.  While
this is important information to have, additional testing is needed to
further inform the use of dispersants.

"EPA is performing independent tests to determine the potential impacts
of various dispersants. We will continue to conduct additional research
before providing a final recommendation, " said EPA Administrator Lisa
P. Jackson.  "We want to ensure that every tool is available to mitigate
the impact of the BP spill and protect our fragile wetlands.  But we
continue to direct BP to use dispersants responsibly and in as limited
an amount as possible."

EPA continues to carefully monitor BP's use of dispersant in the Gulf.
Dispersants are generally less toxic than oil and can prevent some oil
from impacting sensitive areas along the Gulf Coast. EPA believes BP
should use as little dispersant as necessary and, on May 23,
Administrator Jackson and then-Federal On-Scene Coordinator Rear Admiral
Mary Landry directed BP to reduce dispersant usage by 75 percent from
peak usage. EPA and the Coast Guard formalized that order in a directive
to BP on May 26. Over the next month BP reduced dispersant use 68
percent from that peak.

Before directing BP to ramp down dispersant use, EPA directed BP to
analyze potential alternative dispersants for toxicity and
effectiveness. BP reported to EPA that they were unable to find a
dispersant that is less toxic than Corexit 9500, the product currently
in use. Following that, EPA began its own scientific testing of eight
dispersant products on the National Contingency Plan Product Schedule
(NCP-PS). Those dispersant products are: Dispersit SPC 1000, Nokomis
3-F4, Nokomis 3-AA, ZI-400, SAF-RON Gold, Sea Brat #4, Corexit 9500 A
and JD 2000. Today's results represent the first stage of that effort.

EPA tested these eight products for endocrine disrupting activity and
potential impacts on small fish and mysid shrimp. The testing found:

                       *         None of the eight dispersants tested
displayed biologically significant endocrine disrupting activity.
                       *         While all eight dispersants alone -
not mixed with oil - showed roughly the same effects, JD-2000 and
Corexit 9500 proved to be the least toxic to small fish, and JD-2000 and
SAF-RON GOLD were the least toxic to the mysid shrimp.

The next phase of EPA's testing will assess the acute toxicity of
multiple concentrations of Louisiana Sweet Crude Oil alone and
combinations of Louisiana Sweet Crude Oil with each of the eight
dispersants for two test species.

To view the first round of test results please visit:


Enviro-News is a service of the Water Quality
Information Center at the National Agricultural
Library.  The center's Web site is at

The Enviro-News list facilitates information exchange.
Inclusion of an item in Enviro-News does not imply
United States Department of Agriculture(USDA) agreement,
nor does USDA attest to the accuracy or completeness of
the item. See
You can contact the list owner at

Monday, June 21, 2010

Live Video of BP Oil Spill Disaster

The Gulf of Mexico may never be the same. It is heartbreaking to watch as this continues to unfold. Still no certainty of when it will end. Best case scenario seems to be in August as they complete drilling of a relief well. Lets hope they get it right and pray the figure out a way to stop the leak sooner than August.


Monday, June 14, 2010

Black Rain Falls from The Sky

I can only imagine the news headlines in the coming months of what is expected to be a busy 2010 hurricane season. It's raining oil", "Toxic rain across the South", "Eco systems in peril from chemical soup falling from as rain". I'm perplexed that we're not hearing more about  concern for this in the news. Surely they're concerned and considering this? There is good reason to be concerned about what the rains may deliver as storms move inland from the Gulf of Mexico. This could become an environmental catastrophe that reaches across the United States, into Canada and or Mexico. Will British Petroleum follow the rains with their clean up efforts; or will we see the company collapse as a result of what mother nature does with the mess they have created.

It's heartbreaking enough to consider the impacts of what is already happening. Devastation to wildlife and coastal environments, the long term impacts of which have yet to be fully understood and economic loses to communities that will be felt for generations.

It is hard to believe the environmental catastrophe created by the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico could have a direct impact in the Mountains of Western North Carolina. Guess what; it can get worse, much worse. Consider this likely scenario; A tropical storm develops and moves into the Gulf. As it progresses on any of the historical tracks seasonal Gulf storms take, the storm strengthens and becomes a hurricane; or not, it really doesn't matter. As the storm builds and feeds on the warm waters it will also pick up oil from the surface. The oil will be carried high into the upper regions of the building storm. As the system intensifies and continues to progress towards landfall it will bring with it a churning concoction of oil and chemicals that have been spilled and sprayed into the ocean. We should be concerned, very concerned of what this storm will leave in its wake. Contamination from the oil spill could reach well beyond of the Gulf region. The oil and chemicals could be spread as far as the storm is capable of traveling. This toxic mixture will end up in watersheds, lakes, forests, mountain tops and valleys possibly as far inland as the Great Lakes or beyond. Everywhere the rains fall from this storm will be at risk of receiving some measure of this toxic soup drawn up from the Gulf of Mexico. Its a very troubling possibility.

Data from NASA's QuikScat satellite was used to monitor changes in surface water resulting from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in the Mississippi River basin. In these images, the colors represent increases in surface soil moisture resulting from rainfall.
All forecasts indicate the United States will experience a very active 2010 storm season. La Nina is rapidly forming in the Pacific with characteristics similar to those of the 1998 La Nina event. All trusted data sources indicate an above average storm season. As for the Gulf region, data indicates the likelihood of five to seven named storms forming, of which two to four will become hurricanes. Researchers expect three to six of the named storms to make landfall along the Gulf, with an 80 percent chance that at least one of those storms will be of hurricane status. In addition, there is a 55 percent chance that one major hurricane will hit the U.S. Gulf Coast.

I’m not going to make predictions of where a storm would be most likely to make landfall (I can let recent history speak for itself) but you can be almost certain that it will happen.

I’m not a scientist, but water quality and water resource preservation are
what I think about everyday. A storm laden with oil and chemicals could create a situation with health and environmental impacts much greater than those of the oil spill itself. The consequences of such an event must be considered and planned for; and soon.

As of noon today we see what is likely to be the first tropical storm of the season forming in the Atlantic on a track that could bring it into the Gulf of Mexico.


Thursday, June 3, 2010

But are you sure?

Do you test your well water annually?

Well you certainly better. It is strongly advised to have a private well or spring test each year at the minimum and in many cases more frequently. Ground water source conditions can change rapidly and drastically without any noticeable difference to the user. These changes can be harmless and they can also deadly. There is a noticeable increase nationwide in the quality of private water sources. The causes vary by location but the common result is that chemical and biological contamination is increasing. Researchers working with the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) which is a part of the National Institutes of Health, have taken a lead role in working with the AAP in developing recommendations that reflect a growing crisis and draft a new American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) policy statement to advise consumers and provide recommendations; especially where children may become exposed to contaminated water sources.

 The recommendations call for regular monitoring and testing of ground water sources, especially for nitrate and microorganisms such as coliform bacteria. The recommendations point out circumstances when additional testing should occur, including testing when there is a new infant in the house, when an occupant experiences a change in health or if the well is subjected to structural damage or flooding.
The Elderly and individuals with a weakened immune system are particularly vulnerable to waterborne illnesses that may come from contaminated wells. Walter J. Rogan, M.D., an epidemiologist at NIEHS and lead author on the new policy statement, "Drinking Water from Private Wells and Risks to Children," and technical report printed in the June issue of Pediatrics also stated that children are also in this high risk catagory. The policy statement offers updated recommendations for inspection, testing and remediation of wells providing drinking water for children. 

"With few exceptions, well owners are responsible for their own wells," said Rogan. Private Wells are not subject to federal regulations and are only minimally regulated by states. To ensure well water is safe home owners should be monitor water conditions regularly with the understanding that wells can become contaminated with pathogenic organisms or chemicals from one test to the next.

Contamination source are everywhere in today's high production environment and you just can't be certain of what is being done properly or not. Nitrates for example, which comes from sewage or fertilizers, is one of the most common contaminants found in private ground water sources and is also very harmful to our bodies. The presence of nitrates can be a problem particularly for infants under three months who can not metabolize nitrate. Water with a nitrate concentration of more than 10 milligrams per liter (m/pl) should not be used to prepare infant formula or given to a child younger than one year. Long term exposure to Nitrates is know result in serous health problems ranging from Endothelial Dysfunction to Cancer to Neurological disorders and is believed to contribute to Type2 Diabetes. 

The policy statement and accompanying technical report point out that water contamination is inherently local, and that families with wells should keep in contact with state and local health experts to determine what should be tested in their community.
Some parts of the country may have arsenic, radon, salt intrusion or agricultural runoff that may get into the water supply.

"As people move out of urban and suburban areas into areas it is more important than ever that people know who to contact in their local health department for get information about local groundwater conditions," said N. Beth Ragan of NIEHS; who also provided consultantion on these reports. 

A compilation of state by state telephone and Web-based resources of local experts is included in the technical report. At the publishing of this report it was estimated that one-sixth of U.S. households had private wells as their source of potable water.

Drinking and bathing water is a very big part of staying healthy. To the skeptical I say; better safe than sorry. If you won’t know until it is to late why not avoid the risk all together. Test your well frequently and install the necessary filtration to remove or protect yourself and your family against the growing risk of contaminated water.