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Consequences of the BP Oil Spill

The BP oil disaster might end up shifting the entire global energy paradigm -- IF the public is aware of the situation and its consequences. Here are some of the long term effects of the disaster.
Dr. Mercola's Comments:

It's been just over seven months since the Deepwater Horizon exploded, leading to the worst oil spill disaster in history. For nearly three months, hundreds of millions of gallons of oil gushed into the Gulf of Mexico as BP scrambled to cover up and hide the environmental devastation from media.

At this they succeeded wildly, as news of the oil spill has all but disappeared from the public radar. It seems many have already forgotten the spill -- the spill that is, by far, the worst oil spill, and possibly environmental disaster, in human history.

The Exxon Valdez disaster spilled "only" 12 million gallons of oil -- and that ended up taking a much more complex environmental toll than toxicologists initially predicted.

It's essential, for the sake of the environment, the health of the people and workers in the Gulf -- and to prevent this tragedy from reoccurring in the very near future -- that this disaster does not get swept under the rug as BP has hoped …

How Did BP Get Rid of the Massive Amounts of Oil?

A large part of why the public has "forgotten" the BP oil spill already is because we never really saw the true destruction.

There were a few photos of oil-slicked beaches and birds, but by early August the New York Times reported that the oil patches were "largely gone," and "Radar images suggest that the few remaining patches are quickly breaking down in the warm surface waters of the gulf." They went on to report, "The slick appeared to be dissolving far more rapidly than anyone expected."

Around that same time, a government report released by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the U.S. Geological Survey similarly implied that the oil in the Gulf was quickly disappearing and that environmental effects were well under control.

So the largest oil spill in history was largely cleaned up in just a few months, according to the media and the government. The seafood was miraculously safe, the air clean and the environmental effects a mere blip on the radar.

Of course, this is a physical impossibility.

There's no doubt in my mind this disaster will take DECADES to clean up, if it's at all possible, and the worst-case scenario is pointing to major devastation on all levels of marine life, from coral reefs and plankton to fish and air-breathing mammals.

So what happened to all that oil?

Toxic Dispersants Eliminated Oil While Turning the Gulf Toxic

BP sprayed more than 1 million gallons of chemical dispersants into the Gulf since the oil spill began, and cleanup workers have been complaining of dizziness, nausea and other symptoms ever since.

The chemicals in dispersants Corexit 9500 and 9527 are toxic. The New York Times reported:

"Corexit 9527, used in lesser quantities during the earlier days of the spill response, is designated a chronic and acute health hazard by EPA. The 9527 formula contains 2-butoxyethanol, pinpointed as the cause of lingering health problems experienced by cleanup workers after the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill, and propylene glycol, a commonly used solvent."

According to Carys Mitchelmore, a researcher at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, the detergent-like brew of solvents, surfactants and other compounds are known to cause a variety of health problems in animals, including:

  • Death
  • Reduced growth
  • Reproductive problems
  • Cardiac dysfunction
  • Immune suppression
  • Altered behavior
  • Carcinogenic, mutagenic, and teratogenic effects

The chemical dispersants, by the way, are not a silver bullet to miraculously make oil disappear. Oil spill dispersants only alter the chemical and physical properties of the oil, making it more likely to mix with seawater than deposit on the shoreline.

So what the dispersants do is re-direct the oil, making its impact perhaps less so on birds and shore-dwelling animals, but more so on fish, coral reefs, oysters and other marine life that live in the deeper waters.

It essentially "hides" the oil out of view, below the surface where news cameras can't see it.

As Sayer Ji, founder of, stated:

"Dispersing the oil into the water column accelerates the poisoning of all marine life, deep throughout the water column and seabed. Ultimately it results in "covering-up" the extent of the disaster on the surface, while amplifying the damage within our oceans.

Also, when the dispersants mix with the crude oil, a third far more toxic product is produced called "dispersed oil." Dispersed oil has been shown to be more toxic than the sum of its parts.

Dispersing simply keeps the oil deeper in the water column so that it will not surface, into the light of public scrutiny."

Sadly, the oil and dispersant mix is so toxic that I strongly caution you to STAY OUT of the Gulf of Mexico. In my opinion, it's simply not safe to swim there.

Remember also that children are far more prone to experiencing health problems from this type of toxic exposure than adults. So please, keep your children safe. Do not allow your children to swim or play on the Gulf coast beaches.

Make no mistake … even though you can't always see the oil, it's still there, just in an experimental, and toxic, dispersed form.

BP Wants You to Forget About the Oil Spill

The disaster in the Gulf of Mexico was far from the "unavoidable accident" BP claimed it to be, driven by a reckless pursuit of profits and recklessly selfish disregard for our planet.

In CNN interviews, "workers described a corporate culture of cutting staff and ignoring warning signs ahead of the blast. They said BP routinely cut corners and pushed ahead despite concerns about safety."

Then after the explosion, BP denied there was a leak until it became painfully obvious. When they could no longer hide that fact, they low-balled the estimate of the leak at 5,000 barrels a day, which is probably low by a factor of 20.

And instead of taking responsibility, they made the environmental disaster even worse by dumping unprecedented amounts of dispersants into the Gulf in a reckless effort to make the oil "disappear" from public view.

At the same time, BP bought up popular search terms on Google, so that when you search for "oil spill" you'll be directed to BP's damage control page that shows the company's "Gulf of Mexico Response" and cleanup efforts, instead of the massive amounts of damage that is still ongoing.

In addition, as Stephen Lendman pointed out, for nearly two months BP officials:

  • Obstructed cleanup efforts and didn't provide proper equipment to do it
  • Suppressed vital information
  • Told cleanup workers they'd be fired if they spoke to the media
  • Lied from day one about what really happened and its severity
  • Denied adequate compensation to Gulf victims
  • Withheld respirators and other protective gear from cleanup workers, many now ill from flu-like symptoms, including severe headaches, dizziness, nosebleeds, chest pains, and trouble breathing that may persist, become worse and, for many, be long-lasting or permanent
  • Ordered workers showing up with respirators and other protective gear to remove it or be fired
  • On June 17, BP CEO Tony Haywood stonewalled the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigation by refusing to provide information he knows as chief operating officer

This is not surprising as BP is no stranger to environmental crime. Over the past two decades, BP subsidiaries have been convicted of three crimes in Alaska and Texas, including two felonies. BP also holds the dubious honor of receiving the stiffest fine in history for work safety violations.

So they are familiar with how to work the system … as much as BP would like to appear as a concerned and noble corporation, doing all they can to repair the damage and listen to the concerns of the American people, this is nothing but a front.

BP wants you to forget so they can get back to business as usual … business that could easily lead to subsequent disasters that are equal to or worse than the Deepwater Horizon disaster.

The Time is Ripe for Change!

Even though the majority of Americans are not living with the immediate effects of the oil spill -- the exposure to the toxic chemical dispersants, the loss of livelihood to fishermen, the stench of oil and physical reminders of tar balls on the beaches -- as those in the Gulf are, we mustn't forget!

You may not be able to see hundreds of millions of gallons of oil pooling on beaches, but that oil is still very much in the ocean and surrounding waterways, where it is causing untold environmental damage.

Even highly trained toxicologists can only guess what the full extent of the damage will be, and it's likely it won't show up in full for years or decades.

Only by remembering this disaster and pushing for the truth to be brought to the surface – the truth about what BP has been hiding -- can we prevent a similar event from occurring in the future. Now is also the ideal time to strengthen efforts to transition to a cleaner energy future, one that is not dependent on oil and corrupted corporations like BP.

But this can only happen if we all stay with this story, and recognize that the consequences have yet to be truly realized. Please do your part by sharing this information with your friends, family and social circle so we can keep the momentum for change rolling.