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Pathways of exposure to the dispersants are inhalation, ingestion, skin, and eye contact. Health impacts can include headaches, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pains, chest pains, respiratory system damage, skin sensitisation, hypertension, central nervous system depression, neurotoxic effects, cardiac arrhythmia and cardiovascular damage. They are also teratogenic - able to disturb the growth and development of an embryo or fetus - and carcinogenic.
Cowan believes chemicals named polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), released from BP's submerged oil, are likely to blame for what he is finding, due to the fact that the fish with lesions he is finding are from "a wide spatial distribution that is spatially coordinated with oil from the Deepwater Horizon, both surface oil and subsurface oil. A lot of the oil that impacted Louisiana was also in subsurface plumes, and we think there is a lot of it remaining on the seafloor".
Dr Wilma Subra, a chemist and Macarthur Fellow, has conducted tests on seafood and sediment samples along the Gulf for chemicals present in BP's crude oil and toxic dispersants.
"Tests have shown significant levels of oil pollution in oysters and crabs along the Louisiana coastline," Subra told Al Jazeera. "We have also found high levels of hydrocarbons in the soil and vegetation."
A minnowlike fish that is a major source of food in wetland marshes along the Gulf of Mexico is showing early signs of biological damage from the BP oil spill, a peer-reviewed study published on Monday found.
Exposure to toxic chemicals from the BP disaster, which spewed 4.9 million barrels off the coast of Louisiana in 2010, has altered the gulf killifish’s cellular functions in ways that have been predictive of a lack of reproduction in other fish, according to the study, which appears in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Andrew Whitehead, a biologist at Louisiana State University and the lead author of the report, said the report was the first he knew of about biological effects on wildlife since the spill and that it was cause for concern.
“We picked the killifish because they are ecologically important and because we knew we’d find them because they don’t move around that much so their biology reflects their local environment,” he said.
Tests of the fish showed cellular changes like poorly regulated estrogen, potentially signaling an impact on reproduction. Other cellular changes could point to impaired biological performance and health, the study said.
The above response by informed is so incredibly misinformed that I will not respond to it.