It’s scary stuff. But from the NZ Herald, come the best article I have seen in the MSM:
“It’s the biggest environmental disaster of our time and it’s not even over yet,” said the marine toxicologist Dr Susan Shaw, director of the Marine Environmental Research Institute based in Maine. She has been diving among the damage and is horrified by the contamination caused by BP’s continued use of dispersants. “The dispersants have been used at such a high volume that it’s unprecedented. The worst of these – Corexit 9527 – is the one they have been using most. That ruptures red blood cells and causes the fish to bleed. With 800,000 gallons of this, we can only imagine the death that will be caused.”
In previous spills, oil rose to the surface and was dealt with there, but due to the use of dispersants – as well as the weight of this particular crude oil and the pressure created by the depth of the leak – much of the oil has stayed submerged in clouds of tiny particles. At least 800,000 gallons of dispersants were sprayed at escaping oil in a frantic attempt to keep it offshore, but it now seems this preventative measure has created a worse disaster. The chemicals helped to keep the oil submerged and are toxic to marine life, resulting in unprecedented underwater damage to organisms in the Gulf.
Once these harmful substances enter the food chain, almost nothing will escape their effects. Forests of coral, sharks, dolphins, sea turtles, game fish and thousands of shellfish could all face destruction. What happens next to these underwater clouds – or plumes as some scientists have called them – depends largely on the currents they are caught in. If they do eventually rise to the surface, they may end up on the shoreline months or years from now, causing a second wave of destruction to delicate wetlands.