La. Health Dep't. Memo: "We have serious concerns about the lack of information related to the use of dispersants"


My friend and senior policy analyst at the EPA’s office of solid waste and emergency response, Hugh Kaufman (altakocker on Twitter), sent me a link to the above memo.

He reminded me, and I will now remind you, that BP is in charge of poisoning the Gulf with dispersants. The EPA is just along for the ride. However, necessary technical studies were not done before the Big Decision.

The following memo is proof that the necessary studies were not, and have not yet been, done by BP (or the EPA) before BP decided to continue killing our ocean, harming sea life and wild life, and poisoning Amercians with toxic dispersants, with the EPA rubber-stamping the whole thing.

This memo to BP was from two months ago. It comes from Bobby Jindal's office, and you all know I'm no Jindal fan: (bolding mine)

As heads of Louisiana’s agencies that oversee public health, environmental quality and wildlife and fisheries, including the commercial seafood and oyster industry, we have serious concerns about the lack of information related to the use of dispersants in fighting the oil spill at and below the surface of the Gulf of Mexico, and what, if any, impact the dispersants could have on our people, water and air quality, as well as the wildlife, fisheries and vegetation of Louisiana’s coastline and wetlands.

According to the 2005 publication “Oil Dispersants: Efficacy and Effects” by the National Academy of Science, “Oil spill dispersants do not actually reduce the total amount of oil entering the environment. Rather, they change the inherent chemical and physical properties of oil, thereby changing the oil’s transport, fate and potential effects.” The Academy further writes, “Sensitivity to dispersants and dispersed oil can vary significantly by species and life stage.” Many questions remain about hazards dispersants could pose in the Gulf of Mexico, and it is important we better understand the science behind the use of these chemicals. Our fishing industry will have much work to do to rebuild its brand when the oil spill is finally contained. We must be able to assure the public of the safety and reliability of our seafood product, and must be able to ensure the viability of wildlife and vegetation along our coast. To do so, we must have a better understanding of the potential impact and consequences of the use of these dispersants. Some specific questions include:
--What are the acute short-term health risks for humans and wildlife in proximity of the areas to which dispersants are being applied, with respect to the mode of delivery and concentrations being used?
--What are the potential long-term effects on humans and wildlife in areas where dispersants are applied?
--What is the expected timeframe for the return of wildlife to pre-event levels?
--What is the effect of dispersants on the oil and how is dispersant-treated oil expected to move through Gulf waters, and what is the expected impact on seafood harvest areas to which the dispersant treated oil may have traveled?

We also have longer-term questions and concerns that need to be addressed:

--What is the half-life of the dispersant chemicals in the marine environment?
--What is BP’s plan to monitor the impact of dispersants on the environment, people, and wildlife over time?
--What resources will BP make available to restore the wetlands and fisheries that may be harmed by the
Three days ago, in a Unified Command Group meeting that included a BP representative, Secretary Barham requested studies to support usage of the dispersants. As of now, the state has not received the requested information. We are again requesting data, analysis and studies of the effects of oil spill dispersants used, and most importantly, a BP commitment that the dispersants being used to fight the oil spill will not cause irreparable, shortterm or long-term harm to our wetlands, coast, environment, marine life, wildlife or people. Please submit to us

(1) any reports, studies or data either in BP’s possession or conducted by BP on the impact of dispersants, and

(2) anyplans BP has to assist Louisiana in mitigating any negative effects on our environment, health, wildlife and

The state is committed to ensuring a long-term solution is put in place to provide the public with confidence in the
safety of our products. Our state and seafood industry must have a long-term commitment from BP to establish
and sustain an initiative to ensure this is the case.

We look forward to your immediate response.
Alan Levine
Secretary, Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals
Peggy Hatch
Secretary, Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality
Robert Barham
Secretary, Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries

cc: Doug Suttles, COO, BP Global (Robert EOC)
Mike Utsler, Senior VP, BP Alaska Operations (Houma EOC)
Lisa Jackson, Administrator, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Thomas Frieden, M.D., M.P.H., Director, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Margaret Hamburg, M.D., Commissioner, U.S. Food and Drug Administration

Bobby Jindal
Alan Levine
State of Louisiana
Department of Health and Hospitals
Office of the Secretary

  • AlysonAmber

    They simply can't imagine how much harm they can do by dispersing nocive substantces in the golf.If the fish population dies there would be a bigger crises than it already is and there will be hunger in many regions where the fish is the main source of food.

  • barkway

    The dispersant they're using is a known neurotoxin and has never been used in such large quantities before as they are dispersing into the Gulf now.