Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Comment Bump: The Big Fix

Red has left a new comment on your post "The Big Fix":

I had almost the exact same experience as the guy in the first the video. Twice since the oil spill I ate fried oysters from two different nice restaurants - one was a Brennan's. The first time my ovaries got so inflamed I couldn't walk for three days. The second time my formerly dormant colitis (ulcer in my colon) started bleeding and, regardless of various medicines that usually work, it didn't stop for 1 1/2 months. I ended up being hospitalized for 9 days because of it. I tried to tell the doctor I thought my illnesses were related to eating post-oil spill gulf coast seafood and I was scoffed at.

I know my body and I know for a fact that our seafood is not safe. Whenever I eat seafood from other locales I'm fine. If I eat so much as a mouthful of Gulf seafood, my stomach begins to cramp and burn. No one wants to even hear about it cause it cuts into their 'quality of life'. No one wants to give up eating local seafood. No one wants to deal with the economic hit to our tourism and restaurant industry and what it would take to mitigate that. No one wants to deal with the long arduous battle against BP and their power and resources. So we ignore the obvious and eat poisoned seafood instead.

We listened to the same rational from Bush after 9/11 and it was to our detriment. "keep shopping, traveling, consuming. Don't let 'the enemy' win by changing our lifestyle". Following the advice of an incompetent and his capitalistic lifestyle prescription as an antidote to what ails this country got us into a massive phony war and ultimately disemboweled our economy. Using common sense on either of these fronts would save lives, money and our future. Unfortunately I see us repeating the same self destructive route with this oil spill that we took with 9/11: sticking our heads in the sand and accepting the lies we're being fed. 

11 comments:

frog said...

Zombie,

I read your blog and I like what you uncover on the political scene and I largely agree with you on other subjects. But on the Gulf seafood issue, I must make an exception. I eat Gulf seafood almost every day--I work in a restaurant (Redemption) that serves it-- and I have had none of the discomfort that you describe.

I recently visited Gulfport and saw the oil tar on the edge of the beach and saw no life in the water, no crabs, no jellyfish, no clams, no seaweed, for god's sake!

There was no stench of dead sea life, once a common smell on the beach. The BP disaster is far from over but I think the seafood is safe to eat.

I would point out that I am a shameless optimist.

Please keep up your good work. And have you thought about fluoride?

whitmergate said...

Frog ... all I can say is that you have an agenda of a blind man ...

I am in the 'Pass quite frequently, and spent the last week 'Cruisin' on the Coast' ... myself and others spend a lot of time surf fishing and fishing the artificial reefs from the Bay to Biloxi, which includes the Gulfport waters in between ... and we catch a lot of flounder, trout, shrimp and crabs ...

Quite frankly the stingrays are so prevalent that you may want to wear hip boots to go gigging ... and I see many different species of jellyfish ...

I suggest the next time you think you want to go to Gulfport, have someone who can see drive you there ...

As we say... 'Cooking seafood ain't the same as catching seafood'

Lightning K said...

Unfortunately, there is no scientific basis to make a decision whether or not to eat Gulf seafood. There are plenty of anecdotal stories of people getting sick, and plenty of anecdotal stories like Frog's of people not getting sick. Likely, the truth lies somewhere in between. Different people have different thresholds and sensitivities. The problem is that until there is a comprehensive scientific study of the problem, no one knows what the true danger is.

Also, simply because Frog is not experiencing problems right now doesn't mean that s/he will not experience problems in the future. We don't know if there is a slow buildup of toxic chemicals.

In any event, the best advice is to avoid all Gulf seafood. Think of it as a variant of Pascal's Wager, you know that you definitely will not experience any problems if you do not eat it; on the other hand, you don't know what problems you will have if you do eat it.

Red said...

Frog,

its fortunate for you that you've not experienced any discomfort or illnesses thus far. I hope that continues for you.

I'm not sure what your health conditions are but I believe that what is happening is that the toxins exacerbate health issues for those of us with compromised immune systems - like colitis, crohnes disease and respiratory illnesses.

At any rate, it just doesn't seem possible that our gulf region was filled with that much poison from oil and corexit and their not be health risks associated with eating food coming out of those waters. Its just common sense. Moreover, there have been too many hordes of dead fish from every species washing ashore since the oil spill for their to be no poison in those waters.

Everyone has agency over themselves and can choose to do what they want on this issue. But I'm going to continue sounding the alarm and the eating/reading audience can make their own decisions about what to believe and consume.

Dambala - Jason B. Berry said...

Frog...I totally understand your perspective. I"m not trying to be contentious about it or scream it from a mountaintop but I've been covering this story for over a year and in that time I've learned things and seen things which have shaken me to the core.

I love our seafood as much as anyone and it killed me to stop eating it but I made that decision because I have children and I am more concerned about their health than my own.

The last time I ate it was in Waveland and I ate a Shrimp Po-boy. I was very sick for the next 48 hours. It could have been a virus, it could have been unrelated to the shrimp....I don't know. I just know that I got sick as hell and it helped me realize it just isn't worth the risk.

I just want to also point out, that it's not just the BP oil spill that is problematic for the ecology of the Gulf. 60 + years of produced water filled with heavy metals and NORM are a very real threat as well. You can't taste Radium-236 and 238....and it may not make you sick immediately after ingesting it. But these elements are absolutely being discharged into the Gulf every day. Millions of barrels of produced water daily....over a billion a year.

The truth of the matter is....we've destroyed the Gulf. It is a toxic dump and it will stay that way well past our lifetimes. I hate it but it's true. The best we can do is try and stop drilling off the east coast and west coast in hopes that we can save those ecosystems.

Anonymous said...

There seem to be two separate issues here. To what extent has the spill impacted the Gulf ecosystem (i.e. population counts; health of the species) and to what extent has it impacted the safety of consuming certain species. Oysters are different than shrimp, which are different from trout. All I have seen is blanket statements about toxicity.

Also, its all about relative risk. If you don't eat Gulf shrimp because you want to avoid the chance of introducing some toxin into your body then what are you replacing it with? Are you certain that the shrimp you eat in their place are any less toxic?

Anonymous said...

Jason,

Re: "60 + years of produced water filled with heavy metals and NORM are a very real threat as well. You can't taste Radium-236 and 238....and it may not make you sick immediately after ingesting it."

It also might not make you sick at all. If produced water in the Gulf equaled sickness in seafood consumers over the long term, then there should be epidemiological evidence of that (e.g., higher rates of various types of cancers or other serious illnesses along the Gulf coast). If such evidence exists, I haven't seen it.

I'm not trying to dismiss the point you're making about Gulf seafood and the Macondo blowout. I have also stopped eating it. As Lightning K noted, there are no useful studies on which to make a decision...it's probably just a coincidence that no tests are being funded to check for ongoing problems in Gulf seafood and that any such evidence would increase BP liability.

But your statement re: produced water seems to be pointing toward "never eat Gulf seafood again." I can't co-sign that without somekind of evidence; basic epidemiological data for cancer incidence by geography is very much available and doesn't seem to point to any grave danger.

frog said...

Dambala,

I agree, we have been systematically destroying our wetlands and the Gulf for a long time. My comment was, as I thought I made clear, an anecdote of one 30 minute visit to a one mile stretch of beach in Gulfport. I went for a pleasant stroll and made casual observations. My comment was in no way meant to be anything other than that.

Drilling in the Gulf is an insane practice stemming from our rapacious human nature, but the real damage to the Gulf is from the pollution in the Mississippi. That is the source of the heavy metals and weird toxic chemical compounds that currently taint our Gulf.

Most of the food that is sold in the US is tainted by additives that are very poorly understood. There is some evidence that over processing food is a bad thing, perhaps even worse than fresh seafood from the Gulf. I made the passing remark about fluoride (http://www.fluoridealert.org/opposed-water-fluoridation.aspx)
for the same reason. Every town connected to the Mississippi dumps a huge amount of fluoride into the river.

Anyway, my comment was meant to be a compliment to you and your work. It would seem I am not good with compliments.

Dambala - Jason B. Berry said...

- " but the real damage to the Gulf is from the pollution in the Mississippi. That is the source of the heavy metals and weird toxic chemical compounds that currently taint our Gulf."

With all due respect....no....it is not the only source and not even the largest. Produced water is the largest source of toxins in the Gulf. I have interviewed numerous scientists about this including Wilma Subra who discovered the dead zone. Produced water discharge from the rigs is the largest source of pollution in the Gulf of Mexico.

Please watch:

http://vimeo.com/24943480

Dambala - Jason B. Berry said...

And I wasn't being bombastic, Frog....I appreciate your perspective. I appreciate the compliment as well. Please don't hesitate to challenge anything I put on this blog...that's what it's here for.

Dambala - Jason B. Berry said...

- But your statement re: produced water seems to be pointing toward "never eat Gulf seafood again." I can't co-sign that without somekind of evidence; basic epidemiological data for cancer incidence by geography is very much available and doesn't seem to point to any grave danger.

Did you watch the interview I posted? Just curious.

Look...it's up to you. It's your life, it's your health. I'm about to post interviews with shrimpers who are afraid to sell their own product. As for Oysters...they are even more at risk. I'm not telling anyone what to do I'm just showing the mounting evidence that we have been lied to and are still being lied to.

It's up to you to eat it or not.