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Shaw, Susan

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The Times - United Kingdom | 20/04/2011

Dangerous mix in the Gulf

A year after the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico Barataria bay in the US state of Louisiana is still polluted and its inhabitants are suffering from health problems arising from their contact with the solvents that were poured into the sea to disperse the oil. The disaster is therefore far from over, warns the director of the environmental research institute Meri, Susan Shaw, in the conservative daily The Times: "At present, there are no real answers as to the long-term effects of the oil-dispersant mixture on wildlife. But we know that dispersants increase the toxicity of oil. They contain solvents that penetrate lipid (fat) membranes and allow oil to enter the cells of the body more readily. Every tissue, every organ, can be damaged. Dispersants and oil make a deadly combination. For the sake of both the creatures and the people of the Gulf we must discover exactly what they were exposed to and how it will affect their health. The Gulf's disaster is not over."

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