Both the American and Canadian governments have problems determining when toxic contamination of the environment is toxic.
Here’s a handy reference guide to determine if an oil spill is toxic or not.
- If oil’s earning the oil industry record profits: not toxic
- If it’s in your driveway or under a gas station, home, or school: toxic
- If it’s on a ball diamond: not toxic
- If it’s under the ocean with millions of gallons of toxic detergent attached to it: not toxic
- If that oil shows up under special lighting: toxic again
- If it’s on the surface of the Gulf of Mexico: toxic
- If it’s visible on your beach: toxic
- If oil’s on your beach but you can’t see it: not toxic
- If the spill was “contained”: not toxic
- If the spill was not “contained”: not toxic (as soon as it’s off the front page news)
Scientists should examine the chemical and political properties of this “not toxic” oil, and determine if all oil can be converted to the not toxic variety. We owe it to our oil companies to ensure they can continue to fuel our economy and governments with the money needed to make oil not toxic.
“Scientists are questioning the claim by the White House that most of the massive BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico has largely dispersed, Channel 4 News’s science correspondent Julian Rush learns.
“There clearly remain an awful lot of oil products that are unknown at the moment,” George Crozier, Director of the Dauphin Island Sea Lab in Alabama, told Channel 4 News.
He worries that the low oxygen levels in the deep waters could mean toxic compounds in the oil will have time to accumulate in the gulf ecosystem – eventually working their way into the food chain.
But Crozier, like many Gulf coast scientists accepts that the Gulf is well suited to dealing with the oil: “This is not the end of the Gulf of Mexico, the Gulf has the capacity to detox this exposure. But the question is, is it going to take days, weeks, months or years,” he says.”