Category Archives: Gulf Oil Catastrophe

The toxic reach of Deepwater Horizon’s oil spill was much larger — and deadlier — than previous estimates

Oil Dispersant
An aircraft releases chemical dispersant over an oil slick in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010. Captions and Photo source: NOAA /US Coast Guards

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The spread of oil from the Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico was far worse than previously believed, new research has found.

As the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history approaches its 10th anniversary in April, a study by two University of Miami researchers shows that a significant amount of oil and its toxic footprint moved beyond fishery closures where it was thought to be contained and escaped detection by satellites as it flowed near the Texas shore, west Florida shore and within a loop current that carries Gulf water around Florida’s southern tip up toward Miami.

Read Full Article; The Washington Post (02-12-2020)

Crabs and shrimp are flocking to the Deepwater Horizon spill site to mate, and it’s making them sick Christina Zdanowicz-Profile-Image


Photograph: © SAF — Coastal Care
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The site of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill has become a popular mating ground for deep-sea crabs and shrimp.

Decomposing oil from the 2010 spill could be mimicking a sex hormone, and that’s what’s attracting these crustaceans to get frisky in this part of the Gulf, according to an August study published in the journal Royal Society Open Science…

Read Full Article; CNN (09-10-2019)

Continuing impacts of Deepwater Horizon oil spill; Science Daily (04-19-2019)
Nine years ago tomorrow, April 20, 2010, crude oil began leaking from the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig into the Gulf of Mexico in what turned out to be the largest marine oil spill in history. A long-term study suggests the oil is still affecting the salt marshes of the Gulf Coast…

Continuing impacts of Deepwater Horizon oil spill

refugio-oil-spill-cc
Photograph: © SAF – Coastal Care.

Excerpts;

Nine years ago tomorrow — April 20, 2010 — crude oil began leaking from the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig into the Gulf of Mexico in what turned out to be the largest marine oil spill in history. A long-term study suggests the oil is still affecting the salt marshes of the Gulf Coast, and reveals the key role that marsh grasses play in the overall recovery of these important coastal wetlands…

Read Full Article; Science Daily (04-19-2019)

BP oil spill did $17.2 billion in damage to natural resources, scientists find; Science Daily (04-20-2017)
The 2010 BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill did $17.2 billion in damage to the natural resources in the Gulf of Mexico, a team of scientists recently found after a six-year study of the impact of the largest oil spill in US history. This is the first comprehensive appraisal of the financial value of the natural resources damaged by the 134-million-gallon spill…

Deepwater Horizon disaster altered building blocks of ocean life; Guardian UK (06-28-2018)
The 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill disaster may have had a lasting impact upon even the smallest organisms in the Gulf of Mexico, scientists have found – amid warnings that the oceans around America are also under fresh assault as a result of environmental policies underTrump…

Thirty years after Exxon Valdez, the response to oil spills is still all wrong; Guardian UK (03-26-2019)
Chemicals used to clean up spills have harmed marine wildlife, response workers and coastal residents. The EPA must act…

A 14-year-long oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico verges on becoming one of the worst in U.S. history; The Washington Post (10-21-2018)
An oil spill that has been quietly leaking millions of barrels into the Gulf of Mexico has gone unplugged for so long that it now verges on becoming one of the worst offshore disasters in U.S. history. Between 300 and 700 barrels of oil per day have been spewing from a site 12 miles off the Louisiana coast since 2004…

“We have one ocean,” Josh Stein says, threatening offshore drilling legal action; News & Observer (02-01-2018)

Sunlight Reduces Effectiveness of Dispersants Used in Oil Spills


A plane releases chemical dispersant to break up an oil slick on the water surface below. Captions and Photo source: NOAA

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Two new studies have shown that sunlight transforms oil on the ocean surface more significantly and quickly than previously thought. The phenomenon considerably limits the effectiveness of chemical dispersants, which are during oil spills to break up floating oil and reduce the amount of oil that reaches coastlines.

A research team led by Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) found that sunlight chemically alters crude oil floating on the sea surface within hours or days. In a follow-up study the team reported that sunlight changes oil into different compounds that dispersants cannot easily break up. The results of these two studies could affect how responders decide when, where, and how to use dispersants…

Read Full Article; WHOI (04-25-2018)

Gulf Spill oil dispersants associated with health symptoms in cleanup workers, study; Science Daily (09-19-2017)

Oil Dispersant Used in Gulf Oil Spill Causes Lung and Gill Injuries to Humans and Aquatic Animals, University of Alabama at Birmingham; 04-06-2015

First Study of Dispersants in Gulf Spill Suggests a Prolonged Deepwater Fate (01-27-2011)
To combat Deepwater Horizon oil spill, nearly 800,000 gallons of chemical dispersant were injected directly into the oil and gas flow coming out of the wellhead. Scientists begin to assess and to raise questions about what impact the deep-water residue of oil and dispersant, might have had on environment and marine life in the Gulf…

Gulf Oil Spill: Oil-Dispersing Chemicals Had Little Effect On Oil Surfacing, Science Daily (12-04-2012)
As the Deepwater Horizon incident unfolded, in an effort to prevent the oil from coming to the surface and reaching coastal and marsh ecosystems, chemical dispersants were injected at the wellhead. A new study is the first to examine the effects of the use of unprecedented quantities of dispersants, over such a prolonged period of time in the deep ocean…

Gulf Spill oil dispersants associated with health symptoms in cleanup workers, study

Oil Dispersant
An aircraft releases chemical dispersant over an oil slick in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010. Captions and Photo source: NOAA /US Coast Guards

Excerpts;

Workers who were likely exposed to dispersants while cleaning up the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill experienced a range of health symptoms including cough and wheeze, and skin and eye irritation, according to scientists at the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

The study appeared online Sept. 15 in Environmental Health Perspectives and is the first research to examine dispersant-related health symptoms in humans…

Read Full Article, Science Daily (09-19-2017)

Oil Dispersant Used in Gulf Oil Spill Causes Lung and Gill Injuries to Humans and Aquatic Animals, University of Alabama at Birmingham; 04-06-2015

First Study of Dispersants in Gulf Spill Suggests a Prolonged Deepwater Fate (01-27-2011)
To combat Deepwater Horizon oil spill, nearly 800,000 gallons of chemical dispersant were injected directly into the oil and gas flow coming out of the wellhead. Scientists begin to assess and to raise questions about what impact the deep-water residue of oil and dispersant, might have had on environment and marine life in the Gulf…

Gulf Oil Spill: Oil-Dispersing Chemicals Had Little Effect On Oil Surfacing, Science Daily (12-04-2012)
As the Deepwater Horizon incident unfolded, in an effort to prevent the oil from coming to the surface and reaching coastal and marsh ecosystems, chemical dispersants were injected at the wellhead. A new study is the first to examine the effects of the use of unprecedented quantities of dispersants, over such a prolonged period of time in the deep ocean…

Scientists and Academics Call For Immediate Halt of Chemical Dispersants in Gulf, The Ocean Foundation (07-26-2010)

BP oil spill did $17.2 billion in damage to natural resources, scientists find

deepwater-horizon-oil-spill
Fire boat response crews battle the blazing remnants of the off shore oil rig Deepwater Horizon April 21, 2010. A Coast Guard MH-65C dolphin rescue helicopter and crew document the fire aboard the mobile offshore drilling unit Deepwater Horizon, while searching for survivors April 21, 2010. Multiple Coast Guard helicopters, planes and cutters responded to rescue the Deepwater Horizon’s 126 person crew. Captions and Photo source: U.S. Coast Guard

Excerpts;

The 2010 BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill did $17.2 billion in damage to the natural resources in the Gulf of Mexico, a team of scientists recently found after a six-year study of the impact of the largest oil spill in US history.

This is the first comprehensive appraisal of the financial value of the natural resources damaged by the 134-million-gallon spill…

Read Full Article; Science Daily (04-20-2017)

Substance in crude oil harms fish hearts, could affect humans as well

bohai oil spill greenpeace
Photo source: © Greenpeace

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Research from Stanford University’s Hopkins Marine Station has identified a substance in oil that’s to blame for the cardiotoxicity seen in fish exposed to crude oil spills. More than a hazard for marine life exposed to oil, the contaminant this team identified is abundant in air pollution and could pose a global threat to human health…

Read Full Article, Science Daily (01-31-2017)

Mechanism Of Crude Oil Heart Toxicity Revealed From Oil Spill Research; Standford News (02-15-2014)
While studying the impact of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill on tuna, a research team discovered that crude oil interrupts a molecular pathway that allows fish heart cells to beat effectively. The components of the pathway are present in the hearts of most animals, including humans…

Delayed Effects of Oil Spill Compromise Long-Term Fish Survival; NOAA (09-09-2015)
A new study concludes that the impacts of the Exxon Valdez spill on nearshore spawning populations of fish are likely to have been considerably underestimated in terms of both the geographic extent of affected habitat and the lingering toxicity of low levels of oil. The findings will likely contribute to more accurate assessments of the impacts of future oil spills…

Gulf of Mexico perinatal dolphin deaths likely result of oil exposure; NOAA (04-12-2016)
The increased number of stranded stillborn and juvenile dolphins found in the Gulf of Mexico from 2010 to 2013 was likely caused by chronic illnesses in mothers who were exposed to oil from the Deepwater Horizon spill, scientists said today…

BP’s Oiled Animals: Where Are They Now? MNN (04-18-2013)
Across the northern Gulf of Mexico, which absorbed 200 million gallons of crude oil in 2010, the disaster still isn’t over. This Earth Day marks its third anniversary, highlighting a gradual shift from in-your-face emergency to subtle, behind-the-scenes villain…

5 Years after Deepwater Horizon, Wildlife Still Struggling Dolphins Dying in High Numbers; Sea Turtles Failing to Nest, Science Daily (03-31-2015)

Small offshore oil spills put seabirds at risk; Science Daily (05-26-2016)

Delayed Effects of Oil Spill Compromise Long-Term Fish Survival, NOAA (09-09-2015)
A new study concludes that the impacts of the Exxon Valdez spill on nearshore spawning populations of fish are likely to have been considerably underestimated in terms of both the geographic extent of affected habitat and the lingering toxicity of low levels of oil…

Tracking Toxic Chemicals in Oil Spills; WHOI (02-15-2012)
Does out of sight mean into the air or into fish? A study…

The Deepwater Horizon aftermath

oiled-feather
Feather on oiled boom. Captions And Photo source: ©© Lance Cheung

Excerpts;

Researchers have analyzed 125 compounds from oil spilled in the Gulf of Mexico to determine their longevity at different contamination…

Read Full Article, Science Daily (12-19-2016)

USGS, NASA Study Finds Widespread Coastal Land Losses from Gulf Oil Spill; USGS (11-17-2016)

Gulf of Mexico perinatal dolphin deaths likely result of oil exposure; NOAA (04-12-2016)
The increased number of stranded stillborn and juvenile dolphins found in the Gulf of Mexico from 2010 to 2013 was likely caused by chronic illnesses in mothers who were exposed to oil from the Deepwater Horizon spill, scientists said today…

Is Gulf Oil Spill’s Damage Over or Still Unfolding? National Geographic (04-15-2015)

Oil Dispersant Used in Gulf Oil Spill Causes Lung and Gill Injuries to Humans and Aquatic Animals, University of Alabama at Birmingham (04-06-2015)
New research suggests that Corexit EC9500A, an oil-dispersal agent widely used in the Gulf of Mexico following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, contributes to damage to epithelium cells within the lungs of humans and gills of marine creatures…

Interactive Map: “Sixty-Seven Years of Oil and Gas Drilling in the Gulf of Mexico,” National Geographic (04-20-2015)

Why U.S. East Coast Should Stay Off-Limits to Oil Drilling, Yale E360 (02-28-2015)
It’s not just the potential for a catastrophic spill that makes the new proposal to open Atlantic Ocean waters to oil exploration such a bad idea. What’s worse is the cumulative impact on coastal ecosystems that an active oil industry would bring…