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HOMEWorld NewsDisastersGeneralPolitics

BP Gulf Oil Spill

Published on July 15, 2010

Protection with Respirators


The tyranny of medicine is ruling in the Gulf and there will be no way for medical officials to live this one down. Today we have an abhorrent demonstration of medicine exposing it as a political and corporate driven affair that is doing little to nothing to protect citizens in the worst affected areas. It is not difficult to sustain the view that there is really no legitimate public health and medical response in the Gulf of Mexico.

Pharmaceutical medicine is worse than impotent during a toxic disaster because it increases peoples’ toxic exposures via the use of medicines, chemotherapy and radiation that only add to the toxic burden on our bodies. None of these approaches is appropriate for airborne oil mixed with toxicity magnifying chemicals like Corexit.

The United States governmental agencies and most medical organizations will defend to the bitter end the safety of injecting organic mercury into little children with their vaccines. And of course putting metallic mercury in dental fillings (oral toxic waste dumps inches from the brain) is also considered safe. These people are the worst in the world to direct aid against heavy metal and chemical toxicity. They tend to think everything is safe or exposure levels are not high enough to seriously hurt people.

A new study suggests that the air we breathe increases insulin resistance and inflammation [1]

You know what’s going to happen to you and your children if you live too close to one of thousands of coal fired plants, municipal incinerators, industrial plants and even crematoriums? How about if you live in a city with high levels of pollution or even too close to highways with high traffic levels? What would the EPA say about the pollution levels from the Gulf? We don’t like to think of such things because the majority of us live in cities and way too many of us live downwind of single point pollution sources. A lot of people are in harm’s way around the Gulf with the highest exposures being closest to the beaches.

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The New York Times published that, according to British Petroleum, 20% of Gulf spill responders are being exposed to chemicals that sickened Valdez cleanup workers. In an under-the-radar release of new test results for its Gulf of Mexico oil spill workers, BP PLC is reporting potentially hazardous exposures. Natural Resources Defense Council Senior Scientist Gina Solomon described BP’s continued offshore 2-butoxyethanol detection during the month of June as “worrisome.” “It suggests to me that there is still, clearly, a serious air-quality concern. … [Gulf] air quality, if anything, seems to be deteriorating.”

If oil is close to the coastline, people may be able to smell the oil spill from the shore. This odor may cause irritation of the eyes, nose, throat, and skin. People with asthma or other respiratory ailments may be more sensitive to the effects of inhaled fumes. Complicating the issue of toxic exposure is the fact that the federal government has authorized BP to set a portion of collected oil on fire. “When ignited, the boom transformed the oil into a roaring mass of flames as high as 150 feet and a column of smoke of biblical proportions,” according to the Huffington Post. Burning large amounts of oil creates toxic gas air pollution. Symptoms of toxicity include coughing, irritation of the eyes and lungs, rashes, headaches, and nausea. Young children and the elderly are more susceptible to health risks that may be caused by pollution from burning the oil.

The Environmental Protection Agency says the air in some places along the Louisiana coast poses a health risk to vulnerable people. The EPA says recent air sampling shows a moderate health risk in Venice and Grand Isle, two Louisiana towns about 50 miles from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill site. The agency says anyone unusually sensitive to low-quality air should avoid "prolonged or heavy exertion." EPA’s warning comes as concerns grow that the Gulf oil spill may be fouling not just the water and shores but also the air.

Toxicologist Dr. Susan Shaw warns people of the serious effects of Corexit saying it, “Ruptures red blood cells, causes internal bleeding, liver and kidney damage and allows crude oil to penetrate into the cells and every organ system.” She is saying that the combination of oil and Corexit is extremely toxic and goes right through skin. It’s the solvents [from dispersant] that penetrate the skin taking the oil into the cells — takes the oil into the organs… and this stuff is toxic to every organ system in the body.

The New York Times printed her words, “Last week I had the chance to see the effects of the spill from another perspective — when I dived into the oil slick a few miles off the Pass a Loutre wetlands in southern Louisiana. What I witnessed was a surreal, sickening scene beyond anything I could have imagined. As the boat entered the slick, I had to cover my nose to block the fumes. Yes, the dispersants have made for cleaner beaches. But they’re not worth the destruction they cause at sea, far out of sight. It would be better to halt their use and just siphon and skim as much of the oil off the surface as we can. The Deepwater Horizon spill has done enough damage, without our adding to it.”

Similarly, marine biologist and toxicologist Dr. Chris Pincetich – who has an extensive background in testing the affects of chemicals on fish – says that Corexit disrupts cell membranes. He also explains that EPA toxicity testing for Corexit is woefully inadequate, since EPA testing for mortality usually only requires a 96-hour time frame. His doctoral research found that fish that were alive at 96 hours after exposure to pesticide were dead at two weeks, so the chemicals were considered non-lethal for the purposes of the test.

Toxic substances poison our organs, draining our energy and causing cancer and other killer diseases.

People especially susceptible to harm are:

– those with pre-existing serious health conditions
– infants, children, and unborn babies
– pregnant women, especially those carrying multiple babies
– people working or living in conditions that impose health stresses, including exposures to other toxic chemicals

Home Made Respirators


Rather than go without any protection at all, alert citizens can make gas masks for themselves and their families, offering some protection from the increasing exposure in the Gulf region. The necessary materials can be found in almost any house: a bathing cap, a small tin can, the transparent cover from a powder-puff box, a bit of wire net (from fly swatters or Home Depot) two handkerchiefs, elastic ribbon, adhesive tape, and (from the drugstore) a few ounces of activated coconut charcoal and soda lime.

An even simpler mask is advocated by Dr. Kearney Sauer of the Los Angeles Citizens’ Defense Corps: two 12-inch squares of bed sheeting with a quarter-inch layer of baking soda between, held in even distribution by crisscross stitching. Dampened and held firmly over the face, this napkin will give temporary protection against any gas, according to Dr. Sauer, but not the Army.

Safety can’t be determined by smell.

Crude oil’s toxic ingredients can damage every system in the body. Respiratory system, nervous system (including the brain), liver, the reproductive/ urogenital system, kidneys, endocrine system, circulatory system, gastrointestinal system, immune system, sensory systems, musculoskeletal system, hematopoietic (blood forming) system, skin, and metabolism can all be affected. So it is best not to take chances if you are anywhere near the oil or if the wind and rain are bringing it to you.

Benzene, also known as benzol, is a colorless liquid with a sweet odor. Benzene evaporates into air very quickly and dissolves slightly in water. Some people believe that if they don’t smell the odor of oil, the air does not have any chemicals from the oil and is safe. However, that is not true. The odor threshold for benzene (the minimum amount of a chemical in air that people can smell) is approximately 1,500 ppb (US EPA, 2002). This is more than 10,000 times the level of 0.01 ppb that is considered safe.

Brief exposure (5-10 minutes) to very high levels of benzene in air (10,000-20,000 ppm) can result in death. Lower levels (700-3,000 ppm) can cause drowsiness, dizziness, rapid heart rate, headaches, tremors, confusion, and unconsciousness. In most cases, people will stop feeling these effects when they are no longer exposed and begin to breathe fresh air. But damage is done quickly and this is just one of many very toxic chemicals stemming from the Gulf disaster. Avoiding exposure is the primary medical directive to follow and respirators help us to do just that.

Appropriate Medical Treatment for Oil Toxicity

Recently the IMVA published a protocol titled Medical Treatments for Airborne Poisons. It is directing everyone in the Gulf region to be using essential detoxification substances that are widely available in the United States without a prescription. Everyone should be directing consciousness to their medicine cabinets and stocking up on essentials like sodium bicarbonate (baking soda), magnesium oil, different forms of iodine, activated charcoal, selenium (for a mercury polluted world) and clay for hard detoxification and body cleansing. Also very important are super foods that are low on the food chain which minimize our chemical intake. I suggest spirulina, chlorella or Rejuvenate.

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Dr. Mark Sircus AC., OMD, DM (P)

Director International Medical Veritas Association
Doctor of Oriental and Pastoral Medicine

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