Thursday, May 27, 2010
Chemical dispersants may have prevented some oil from coming ashore, but the real problem is what we are doing to ocean itself.
Dispersants break up the oil into smaller pieces that sink in the water column, forming “bite size” packages of poison all the way to the sea floor. Diving down into the murky waters, it was possible to see tiny wisps of phytoplankton, zooplankton, and tiny shrimps enveloped in dark oily droplets. Closer to the surface, planktivorous fish such as herring were feeding with gaping mouths on a brown pudding of death. As vital niches in the food web disappear in the toxic morass, we may not see all the sinking bodies but their absence will certainly wreak havoc on every higher organism -- including us.
As the orange ooze invades the Louisiana marshes, it is increasingly obvious that the long-term impacts of this untested chemical “remedy” for the Gulf spill will be catastrophic -- especially for top predators including all the big fish, pelicans, sea turtles, sharks, and dolphins.
It is death in the ocean from the top to the bottom.
As of last week, BP had released more than 800,000 gallons of COREXIT, its “industry-insider” line of chemical dispersants into the Gulf. These dispersants are manufactured by Nalco, a company with ties to BP and Exxon Chemical.
COREXIT 9527, which has been sprayed in massive quantities, contains 2-butoxyethanol, a chemical that ruptures red blood cells and causes hemolysis (bleeding) when ingested. After this dispersant was sprayed in 1989 to contain the oil spill caused by the Exxon Valdez in Alaska, workers suffered health problems including blood in their urine, and liver and kidney damage.
Its replacement, COREXIT 9500, contains surfactants and petroleum solvents that are bioaccumulative, caustic, and cause chemical pneumonia if aspirated into the lungs.
BP has brazenly refused to switch to less toxic, more effective EPA-approved dispersants. Dispersit, a competitor of COREXIT 9500, is twice as effective on LA crude and about a third as toxic. Dispersit and Sea Brat #4 are water-based and biodegradable while COREXIT 9500 contains petroleum-based solvents and bioaccumulates in food webs. BP claims it does not have sufficient stockpiles of the safer dispersants for immediate use.
Despite arguments over “secret” formulas and data gaps, the truth is, none of the chemical dispersants is without risk and their use on such a massive scale is unprecedented. Unless stopped, BP plans to release another 800,000 gallons or more of COREXIT into the fragile Gulf ecosystem. The need for regulatory control of the reckless use of toxic chemicals in the US has never been greater.
BPs application of COREXIT dispersants in the Gulf must be halted and the damage assessed for at least the next 12 months or more to determine immediate and long-term impacts to marine life. An independent monitoring effort should be funded by BP and results be transparent and available to researchers and the public.
The US EPA and NOAA need to take a strong stand to prevent further release of toxic chemical dispersants to the Gulf for even one more day, one more hour. Hundreds of thousands, possibly millions of marine lives are at stake.
Susan D. Shaw is a marine toxicologist and founder/director of the Marine Environmental Research Institute
Susan D. Shaw, DrPH
Director, Marine Environmental Research Institute (MERI)
Center for Marine Studies
PO Box 1653, 55 Main Street
Blue Hill, ME 04614
Tel: (207) 374-2135
Fax: (207) 374-2931
Monday, March 8, 2010
1 bunch of scallions
Zest from 1 lemon
4 tablespoons lemon juice
1C maple syrup
1 T Dijon mustard
2 T grated gingerroot
4 T fresh lemon juice
4 T soy sauce
2 T of Chinese 5 Spice of the jar variety or 1 t of the dry
3 large cloves of garlic grated
1 cedar board
Soak the board in cold water for about 2 hours
Combine glaze ingredients in a saucepan and reduce by half…
Spread 1/2 of the glaze on the salmon fillet and let sit for 15 minutes and reserve the remaining glaze
Remove board from water…dry off and spray with olive oil.
Cut the scallions in 3 inches strips and place across the board.
Place the salmon skin side down on top of the scallions
Heat BBQ. When hot place the board with the salmon on it on the BBQ. Close the lid and cook for about 15 minutes.
Remove from BBQ.
Plate the salmon….remove the skin and discard the scallions..... brush with remaining glaze.
A group of us got together to watch the Academy Awards the other night. Since most of us were trying to eat healthy and low fat, we were instructed to bring an appropriate dish. After several hours of going over my recipes, I decided to adapt an old favorite. The result was a maple glazed salmon fillet grilled on a cedar plank.
You can purchase the cedar planks at most cookware stores or you can make them from untreated cedar board.
All you need is:
2 drops liquid vegetable rennet
2 packets of Chevre starter ..but if you don't have this 1/4 cups live cultured buttermilk will work
a thermometer that goes down to at least 70 degrees
All equipment must be sterilized before you begin
You can get the starter and molds online from the New England Cheese Supply Company
The curd will separate from the whey and you will have a large mass of curds.
Using a slotted spoon, spoon the curds into the molds. If you do not have molds, line a sieve with cheesecloth and spoon the curds into it.
Once the molds are filled cover them with foil and place them on a wire rack that is set over a pan that is about 2 inches thick. As the cheese sets it will loose a lot more whey and the whey will go into the pan. If you are using the cheesecloth method, lift the bundle out of the sieve, tie a string around it to make a bag and hand the bag over a bowl so that the whey can drop into the bowl.
Let the curds sit for two days either in the refrigerator or on the kitchen counter.
After the whey has drained the curds will have shrunk by about 50 percent. Unmold the cheese. Season with -salt, fresh herbs or pepper...it is now ready to enjoy
The cheese will last about two weeks covered in the refrigerator.....
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
Article from the New York Times