Toxicologist Riki Ott: Serious Health Risks in Gulf of Mexico + Gina Solomon on Dangerous Lack of Seafood Testing

Updated: Oct. 24, 2010 added another video report

Riki Ott in the Louisiana Bayou

Image by Rainforest Action Network via Flickr

roseaguilar3 | October 20, 2010

In this interview with Rose Aguilar, Riki Ott talks about the health crisis caused by the BP oil disaster in the Gulf. She says she’s currently dealing with three or four autopsies and knows of people who are down to 4.7% of their lung capacity and have enlarged hearts. “These people have oil in their bodies,” she said.

She believes four to five million people in the Gulf were exposed to either acute or intermediate levels of oil at dangerous levels.

Rose spoke with Riki Ott on the sixth-month anniversary of the BP oil disaster — one of the largest environmental disasters in U.S. history.

In 1989, Ott, a marine toxicologist who lives in Cordova, Alaska, experienced firsthand the devastating effects of the Exxon Valdex oil disaster.

She’s spent five of the past six months traveling back and forth between Louisiana and Florida to gather information about what’s really happening in the Gulf and share the lessons she learned about long-term illnesses and deaths of clean-up workers and residents. She’s planning to return in January.

For more about her work, visit:

White House blocked and put spin on scientists’ warnings – Guardian




NRDC’S Gina Solomon on a Dangerous Lack of Seafood Testing in the Gulf of Mexico

ProjectGulfImpact | October 24, 2010

More information can be found in Dr. Solomon’s recent blog entries, linked below:

“Gulf Shrimp Testing: Is a Dozen Samples in 5000 Square Miles Enough to Reassure You?”…

And “Six Months, Five Shrimp, and One Nasty Mess: Health & Seafood Safety Concerns from BP Spill Still Linger in Gulf Today”


Where she writes, “…the Federal government reopened 2,927 square miles of the Gulf to fishing and shrimping, just South of the Mississippi Delta. The Feds confirmed that the area was safe for shrimping by performing a “sniff test” for oil odors on five shrimp samples. They confirmed the sniff test with three composite samples of shrimp sent for chemical testing from an approximately 1,000 square mile area. No information was provided to the public on the size or location of the shrimping grounds or why so few chemical analyses were performed. This does not seem sufficient to assess the safety of the seafood coming out of the Gulf right now.”

Transcript of introduction:

“The seafood testing so far has been so frustrating because it has been so, really unscientific. It’s not that hard to do a basic seafood testing program. You go out and you figure out how many samples you need in order to have adequate statistical power to pick up a problem if it’s really out there, and then you go out and you do it. But what’s happening right now is this sort of sporadic, willy-nilly re-openings by different agencies, by state and federal government agencies, sometimes on the basis of really almost no testing results.”

Project Gulf Impact

video no longer available


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