Often, when samples (air, water, blood) are taken, it is months before results are expected. These results need to be more widely publicized, and therefore I am reposting them, and encourage you to do the same.
Evaluation of the Results of Whole Blood Volatile Solvents Testing
By Wilma Subra
Louisiana Environmental Action Network
Samples of blood were collected on December 16, 2010, from four males, age 3, 36, 42 and 43, and one female, age 38. The individuals tested were a diver who came in contact with the BP spill chemicals, individuals who visited the coastal communities and wetlands, documenting the impacts of the BP spill, and individuals exposed along the beaches. The whole blood samples were analyzed for Volatile Solvents by Method 0762, Gas Chromatography/Mass Spectrometry, by Metametrix Clinical Laboratory in Duluth, Georgia
Ethylbenzene was detected in all five blood samples in excess of the NHANES 95th Percentile value. The male diver had the highest concentration of Ethylbenzene, 0.63 ppb, which was 5.7 times the 95th Percentile NHANES value. The male diver also had the highest value of Ethylbenzene when compared to the other 9 individuals whose blood had been previously tested (1.3 times the highest previous value). The previous samplings of blood for volatile solvents were performed on residents exposed along the coast and BP cleanup workers.
The second highest concentration of Ethylbenzene was 3.3 times the 95th Percentile and occurred in the 3 year old male. The third highest concentration of Ethylbenzene was 2.8 times the 95th Percentile and occurred in the 38 year old female.
m,p-Xylene was detected in four of the five blood samples in excess of the NHANES 95th Percentile value. The male diver had the highest concentration of m,p-Xylene, 1.93 ppb, which was 5.68 times the 95th Percentile NHANES value. The male diver also had the highest value of m,p-Xylene when compared to the other 9 individuals whose blood had been previously tested (1.5 times the highest previous value). The 36 year old male did not have detectable levels of m,p-Xylene.
Hexane was detected in all five blood samples. The highest concentration of Hexane in the blood occurred in the 3 year old male and the 36 year old male.. The hexane concentrations in the blood of the 3 year old male and 36 year old male were in the 40th Percentile. The Hexane values detected in the five blood samples fell in the same range as the previous 9 blood samples.
The concentrations of 2-Methylpentane were highest in the 3 year old male and 36 year old male. The 2-Methylpentane values in the 3 year old male and 36 year old male were elevated and in the 82nd Percentile. The 2-Methylpentane values were in the same range as the previous nine blood samples analyzed.
The concentrations of 3-Methylpentane were highest in the 36 year old male. The 36 year old male value was in the 2nd Percentile.
The highest concentration of Isooctane occurred in the male diver and was in the 3rd Percentile. The Isooctane values were in the same range as previous blood samples examined.
All five individuals tested had Ethylbenzene in their blood in excess of the NHANES 95th Percentile. Four of the five individuals tested had m,p-Xylene in their blood in excess of the NHANES 95th Percentile.
All five individuals had Hexane, 2-Methylpentane, 3-Methylpentane, and isooctane in their blood.
The diver had the highest concentration of Ethylbenzene, m,p-Xylene and Isooctane in his blood. The 3 year old male and 36 year old male had the highest concentrations of Hexane, 2-Methylpentane and 3-Methylpentane.
The Ethylbenzene, m,p-Xylene and Hexane correlate to the volatile organic chemicals in the BP Crude Oil. The blood of all five individuals had chemicals that corresponded to the chemicals in the BP Crude Oil.
Results of sampling performed by the Lower Mississippi River Keeper from Atchafalaya Bay eastward to the Louisiana/Mississippi state line, in the Gulf of Mexico coastal areas of Louisiana.
January 3rd 2011
by Wilma Subra
Lower Mississippi Riverkeeper
Louisiana Environmental Action Network
In response to the BP Oil Disaster, the Lower Mississippi River Keeper (LMRK), Louisiana Environmental Action Network (LEAN), and Subra Company have performed monitoring, sampling and analysis of the environment and seafood in the coastal estuaries and wetlands of Louisiana. Monitoring of the environmental and human health impacts were initiated immediately following the Deepwater Horizon explosion and resulting crude oil spill on April 20, 2010. Physical and chemical field sampling and analysis of the wetlands and ecosystems, along the coast of Louisiana, were initiated on August 2, 2010. The field sampling has been performed and continues to be performed on an ongoing basis since August 2, 2010, from Atchafalaya Bay eastward to the Louisiana/Mississippi state line.
Results of sampling performed by the Lower Mississippi River Keeper in St. Bernard Parish on October 26, 2010
by Wilma Subra Subra Company
Paul Orr Lower Mississippi River Keeper
Michael Orr Louisiana Environmental Action Network
Tissue samples were collected from a cove, 1.4 miles from the southern end of a “spoil canal” south of the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet (MRGO). The sample of oysters contained 84 mg/kg of Petroleum Hydrocarbons and 2 Polynuclear Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) (3.6 ug/kg). The redfish sample contained 84 mg/kg Petroleum Hydrocarbons.
Michael and Paul processing oyster samples
A blue crab sample from the northeast side of Lake Machias in a shallow pond south of the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet (MRGO) contained 147 mg/kg Petroleum Hydrocarbons and 3 PAHs (84.6 ug/kg).
Shrimp sample ready for the Lab
Shrimp and oyster tissue samples collected from the East side of Lake Fortuna just off a small island in Pass Fernandez contained 96 mg/kg Petroleum Hydrocarbons and 5 PAHs (69.4 ug/kg) in the shrimp sample and 108 mg/kg Petroleum Hydrocarbons in the oyster sample.
We have all had frustrations with the response to the recent Gulf oil disaster. One such frustration that we at Lower Mississippi Riverkeeper felt early on was the lack of solid data about the impacts from the disaster. This frustration prompted us to begin an environmental sampling project.
LEAN/LMRK technical advisor, award winning chemist Wilma Subra, put together the sampling protocols. We coordinated with world-class commercial laboratories who would process the samples. We prepared Julia the LMRK patrol boat and were ready to go.
On August 2, 2010 we made our first sample collection trip. Since then we have made 8 sampling trips, from the western edge of Terrebonne Parish to the Louisiana/Mississippi line, and collected over 50 samples.
Samples of water, soil, plants and animals have been collected. As the project progressed we have decided to focus on seafood species as these have the greatest impact on people.
The following list details a few of our findings to date:
Total Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons:
Total Petroleum Hydrocarbons:
Sr. Bernard Parish
Flounder and Speckled Trout
St. Bernard Parish
Fiddler Crabs and Periwinkles (snail)
The high levels of petroleum hydrocarbons are troubling particularly since many of these species are consumed by people. It is our understanding that there should be no detectable levels of petroleum hydrocarbons in seafood.
It should be noted that none of the samples listed above were visibly contaminated nor did they have any unusual odors. The seafood species, in particular, appeared pristine. We have made an effort to test a broad sampling of areas across the coast.
Based on our sampling project we believe that the government's pronouncement that Gulf seafood is safe is premature.
This information is particularly valuable in determining possible public health concerns related to contamination from the oil disaster. Information gathered will help us to understand what possible precautions should be taken now and what actions are necessary to fully restore the environment of the impacted areas.
We hope that the results from our sampling project will help to fill in some of the unanswered questions about the impacts of this disaster. As a small nonprofit, our scale and scope is limited greatly by budget but it is our hope that this research contributes to an accurate, independent and publicly accessible analysis of the state of the Gulf environment.We are currently waiting for the results of two more trips worth of samples which are being processed at the lab.
We will continue to collect this important data as long as we can afford to. As always we will continue to assist the communities we serve and strive to find answers to the questions vital for maintaining healthy and sustainable coastal communities.
by Sue Sturgis, http://www.southernstudies.org/cgi-bin/mt/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=5&id=20
the Online Magazine for the Institute for Southern Studies
Though the gushing well was capped last July, oil continues to wash ashore along the Gulf Coast. BP's oil is also washing up in people's bodies, raising concerns about long-term health effects.
This month the Louisiana Environmental Action Network released the results of tests performed on blood samples collected from Gulf residents. Whole blood samples were collected from 12 people between the ages of 10 and 66 in September, November and December and analyzed by a professional lab in Georgia, with the findings interpreted by environmental chemist and LEAN technical adviser Wilma Subra.
The individuals tested were two boys ages 10 and 11, four men and six women. They included cleanup workers on Orange Beach, Ala., crabbers from the Biloxi, Miss. area and people living on Perdido Key, Ala.
Four of the people tested -- including three adults and the 10-year-old -- showed unusually high levels of benzene, a particularly toxic component of crude oil. Subra compared the levels found in the test subjects to the levels found in subjects in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), a research program conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics.
Specifically, Subra compared the benzene levels in the Gulf residents to the NHANES 95th percentile value -- that is, the score below which 95 percent of the NHANES subjected tested. In other words, she compared the benzene levels found in Gulf residents to some of the highest levels found in the general population.
That comparison shows cause for concern, as the benzene levels in the blood of four Gulf residents ranged between 11.9 and 35.8 times higher than the NHANES 95th percentile value of 0.26 parts per billion. Benzene is known to cause a host of health problems including anemia, irregular menstrual periods, ovarian shrinkage and leukemia.
The Gulf residents with the highest levels of benzene in their blood included a family of crabbers -- a 46-year-old man and woman and a 10-year-old boy -- and a 51-year-old woman crabber, all from the Biloxi area.
Ethylbenzene was detected in all 12 blood samples from Gulf residents over the NHANES 95th percentile value of 0.11 ppb, with some individuals testing over three times that concentration. Ethylbenzene is known to cause dizziness, damage to the inner ear and hearing, and kidney damage, and it's also thought to cause cancer.
Eleven of the 12 individuals tested had relatively high concentrations of xylenes, with some of them testing up to 3.8 times higher than the NHANES 95th percentile value of 0.34 ppb. Xylene exposure can lead to headaches, dizziness, confusion, skin irritation, respiratory problems, memory difficulties and changes to the liver and kidneys. The blood test results also found high levels of other toxic petrochemicals including 2-methylpentane, 3-methylpentane and isooctane.
The two boys showed some of the highest blood concentrations of the chemicals, and the 10-year-old boy from the Biloxi area suffered severe respiratory problems as a result. His mother, the crabber, also had some of the highest concentrations of the chemicals in her blood.
Earlier this month, residents from across the Gulf called on members of the President's oil spill commission -- which recently released its final report on the disaster -- to address the region's growing health crisis. One of them was Cherri Foytlin, co-founder of the grassroots group Gulf Change, who recently learned her own blood has alarming levels of ethylbenzene.
"Today I'm talking to you about my life," she told the commission. "My ethylbenzene levels are 2.5 times the [NHANES] 95th percentile, and there's a very good chance now that I won't get to see my grandbabies."
Foytlin reported seeing children from the region with lesions all over their bodies. "We are very, very ill," she said. Meanwhile, doctors in the region are treating patients with high levels of toxic petrochemicals in their bodies -- even in people who do not live right on the coast and were not involved in the cleanup.
Commission member Frances Beinecke, chair of the Natural Resources Defense Council, pledged to take the health concerns back to the White House. But nine months since the disaster began unfolding, Gulf residents are still waiting for the government to address the ongoing environmental health crisis.