Experts: Submerged oil threatens organisms

Saturday, August 28, 2010
By Paul Martin

Ryan Dezember
AL.com
Saturday, August 28, 2010

FAIRHOPE, Ala. — Two of coastal Alabama’s foremost marine experts agree that using dispersants to combat this summer’s Deepwater Horizon oil spill will cause problems in the northern Gulf of Mexico for years to come, but not because the chemicals BP PLC administered to break the crude into microscopic pieces pose any significant human health risk.

Instead, Dauphin Island Sea Lab Director George Crozier and Robert Shipp, chairman of the University of South Alabama’s Marine Sciences Department, said during a Friday night lecture at USA’s Fairhope campus that by suspending bits of oil in the water column, generations of filter-feeding organisms could be lost in portions of the northern Gulf.

“The whole issue of toxicity is really a red herring, and it’s far more important to realize that keeping (oil) in the water column is not a good thing,” Shipp said. “The Mississippi River pours more dispersants into the Gulf every day than anything BP did.”

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