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Originally posted by Chamberf=6
reply to post by twitchy
Well you are comparing a solid to a gas.
A thick, 22-mile plume of oil discovered by researchers off the BP spill site was nearing an underwater canyon, where it could poison the foodchain for sealife in the waters off Florida.
The cloud was nearing a large underwater canyon whose currents fuel the foodchain in Gulf waters off Florida and could potentially wash the tiny plants and animals that feed larger organisms in a stew of toxic chemicals, another researcher said Friday.
The discovery by researchers on the University of South Florida College of Marine Science’s Weatherbird II vessel is the second significant undersea plume reported since the Deepwater Horizon exploded on April 20. The plume is more than 6 miles wide and its presence was reported Thursday.
McKinney said that in a best-case scenario, oil riding the current out of the canyon would rise close enough to the surface to be broken down by sunlight. But if the plume remains relatively intact, it could sweep down the west coast of Florida as a toxic soup as far as the Keys, through what he called some of the most productive parts of the Gulf.
Here is a list, released by Louisiana emergency officials, of areas where oil was sighted today. The list is not a comprehensive tally of areas affected by oil from the Gulf of Mexico spill.
...Large plume of submerged oil 11.22 miles north of Grants Pass.
Sheen, with possibly more oil underwater, 18 miles northeast of northeast pass of Mississippi River.
A multidisciplinary team of investigators from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution embarked June 17 on a twelve-day research effort in the Gulf of Mexico aboard the R/V Endeavor, conducting three simultaneous projects funded through the National Science Foundation (NSF) "RAPID" program.The projects aim to characterize subsurface oil plumes extending from the Deepwater Horizon well head using novel technology and the latest in biogeochemical techniques. The research should help answer looming questions about the fate of oil released into the water, examining the physical extent, chemical composition, and biological impact of subsea plumes.
We are continuing to review EPA Air Quality Monitoring data, and any other air monitoring data that becomes available. Please refer to my previous post on air quality for information prior to May 26th. Below, I’ll post new summaries on a weekly basis for all locations along the Gulf coast.
We are focusing on the following top-priority air pollutants: hydrogen sulfide, benzene and naphthalene, because these are among the most hazardous to health. Hydrogen sulfide smells like rotten eggs and causes immediate symptoms, such as confusion, headaches, and respiratory problems; benzene is known to cause leukemia in humans, and naphthalene is an anticipated human carcinogen that has been linked to neuroblastomas, and cancers of the nose and airways. We’re also reviewing data on other pollutants; if we find any levels of concern, we’ll post that information here.
In my previous post on air quality, I used short-term risk numbers as points of comparison, but now this disaster is dragging on for months so I’m going to start using benchmarks for longer-term exposure. The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) has set benchmarks for some oil pollutants for short-term (1-14 days), intermediate (15-364 days) and long-term (> 1 year) exposures. In the case of hydrogen sulfide, EPA is taking 1-hour air samples at different locations along the coast in Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida, so these numbers are best compared with an EPA 1-hour benchmark standard.
Hydrogen Sulfide benchmarks:
Short-term – 1 hour samples: 510 parts-per-billion (ppb) (Mississippi, Alabama, Florida sites)
Short-term – 1 day average: 70 ppb (Louisiana sites)
Intermediate: 20 ppb
Long-term: Not available
Short term: 9 ppb
Intermediate: 6 ppb
Long term: 3 ppb
Short term: Not available
Intermediate: Not available
Long term: 0.7 ppb
I want to remind readers that the EPA air monitoring data is limited; residents and workers may experience stronger fumes (e.g. spikes in levels of one or more chemical), while others may not smell any odors at all. Anyone who feels impacted by fumes should go into an air-conditioned indoor environment until they feel better. This is especially important for pregnant women, infants and young children, the elderly, asthmatics and others suffering from illnesses.
Symptoms of exposure to oil fumes could include dizziness, headache, irritation to the eyes, nose, or throat, cough, shortness of breath, wheezing, nausea and vomiting. If your symptoms don’t go away within a short time after you go inside to rest, please seek medical attention. To ensure that odors and health problems are documented and to get advice on the appropriate actions to take if you feel sick, call the following resources:
To report odors
In Louisiana call Chris Ruhl (214)789-9587 or Mike McAteer (214) 354-9371 from the EPA
In Florida, Mississippi and Alabama, call the Joint Information Center (985) 902-5231
If you’re experiencing health problems, seek medical attention. Medical information is also available from the Poison Control Center: 1-800-222-1222.
Get on the map. The Louisiana Bucket Brigade is collecting information on the impacts of the Gulf Spill. Go to www.oilspill.labucketbrigade.org and report anything you see or smell firsthand regarding the oil spill. You can also text the information to (504) 272-7645, e-mail it to firstname.lastname@example.org or Twitter #BPspillmap.
The air monitoring data so far appear not to be cause for major concern for benzene and naphthalene. The levels of hydrogen sulfide EPA is reporting is some areas could cause short-term symptoms in sensitive people and could potentially pose a long-term risk if the elevated levels continue. EPA scientists have reported technical difficulties related to this data and their current methods may overestimate the health concerns. We will update this site as new information comes in that helps clarify the hydrogen sulfide data.
And now the air monitoring data. Please keep in mind that the data are only as accurate as what is available from EPA at the time this was posted and sometimes data is missing or there insufficient data to calculate an average. Click on a location below to go directly to the data for your region:
This morning EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson tweeted that EPA is monitoring air and water quality and even linked to the “data” EPA is making available:
EPA continues to monitor enviro quality in Gulf. For data: budurl.com...
Now, I’m no scientist, but I am a pretty smart lady, so I set about trying to interpret the “data” Lisa provided us. I enlisted the help of some other intelligent folks as well. After close to 45 minutes we still did not have a clear understanding of what the air or water quality was in any particular area, in relation to what the acceptable limits are for each chemical being tested. This is not my idea of “transparency in reporting” from the EPA. So let me take you through what I did learn.
First, after getting no where with the illegible wording on the main site (here’s a sample report – helpful?), I found out the EPA has a TAGA (Trace Atmospheric Gas Analyzers) bus running along the coast monitoring for Benzene, Toluene and Xylene.
Great, so I can just go find the information for my area and determine what the current Benzene levels are, right? Not so fast. The air quality reports are all listed in Latitude and Longitude only, so I then had to take the Lat/Long numbers, visit this site to enter the coordinates and get map data. They aren’t even segmented by state. I happen to have a pretty good idea of Mobile’s Lat/Long coordinates so I took an educated guess with one.
The first point I entered ended up being for Innerarity Point, in Perdido Key, just east of the Florida/Alabama state line. The measurement for Benzene at this location on 6/25/10 14:23 was 72.831 ppb.
Whew. Now I had something: a date, time, meaningful location, chemical being measured and amount detected. Now that is data. But for the average citizen (which I am) I still didn’t have information. I now had to ask: What does this mean? In order to know what a Benzene reading of 73 ppb means to me I need to know what is the acceptable limit for Benzene. That information is stored no where near the reported findings, so I started searching the EPA site.
Finally I found the permissible Benzene limits for the EPA. The problem is the EPA reports the results in ppb (parts per billion) – 73 in this case. That would be helpful, IF EPA reported acceptable limits in ppb, which they do not. Here is the listed EPA acceptable limit for Benzene:
Benzene: 20 µg/m3 and below
This makes it difficult to decide if your air quality is bad, even if you are able to locate your area and find reported numbers on these chemicals. More digging…