In his newsletter of July 13, Ian Crane reports on the effects of the toxic chemicals being used to disperse the Gulf of Mexico oil leak. He says:
The dispersants causing greatest concern are COREXIT 9500 and the even more toxic COREXIT 9527A. Corexit 9527 is stated by its manufacturer to be potentially harmful to red blood cells, the kidneys and the liver. The chemical 2-butoxyethanol, found in Corexit 9527, was identified as having caused lasting health problems in workers involved in the cleanup of the Exxon Valdez oil spill. According to the Alaska Community Action on Toxics, the use of Corexit during the Exxon Valdez oil spill caused people “respiratory, nervous system, liver, kidney and blood disorders”. Like 9527, 9500 can cause hemolysis (rupture of blood cells) and may also cause internal bleeding.
He also reports on the attempted cover-up, saying:
Despite researchers, reporters and news crews being threatened with felony charges if they should persist in taking photographs or filming the oil-soaked wildlife and shoreline, and being threatened with immediate arrest and jail if they report on clean-up workers being hospitalised with respiratory difficulties; word is filtering out. The vast majority of US-based vacationers are already cancelling any plans to head towards the affected states of Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi and Florida in the coming months. BP has already paid out almost $40 million in compensation to small businesses in these states and is expecting to receive further claims in the coming months.
So, what can we do about it?
About the spill itself, the options of individuals and communities are very limited, but we CAN do something about our need and demand for gasoline and petroleum-based products like plastics, pesticides, herbicides, etc. Last night we hosted in Tucson a presentation by David Blume, author of the book, Alcohol Can Be a Gas!, who described the many benefits of small-scale local alcohol fuel production. This approach has the potential to solve virtually all the problems associated with our petroleum addiction. That’s a bold statement, but David is able to back it up with hard facts and an amazing knowledge of permaculture, history and the politics of technology. -t.h.g.