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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 dispersants have.
The 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.
These 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.
What do you get when you mix
oil & methane gas,
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?
A 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:
Even 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 follows:
87 days X 100,000 barrels per day = 8.7 million barrels of hydrocarbon effluent (oil + methane + particulates [sand, stones, gravel, debris from deep down under])
Factoid It only takes 1 barrel of oil to effectively pollute one million barrels of seawater.
Petroleum 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.
"Crude 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.
Benzene 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)