NASA oil spill scientist: “I know there were clouds filled with hydrocarbons” — Discusses “Gulf Coast Health Syndrome”

NASA Data Strengthens Reports of Toxic Rain on the Gulf Coast From BP Spill, Jerry Cope via Huffington Post, March 7, 2011:

Excerpts from Jerry Cope's interview with Ira Leifer, Ph.D, the Chief Mission Coordinating Scientist on the NASA remote sensing mission to the BP oil spill in the Gulf Of Mexico

Leifer on why this oil disaster was different:

I think it is important to establish for the record that the unique aspect of this [BP blowout] is that the volatiles were continuous, it was not a one-day exposure. The chronic nature of the spill and the therefore chronic nature of its health impact is a pretty unique aspect of this event. The reason I think it's important to call it unique is that it gives a way to explain why various government agencies using protocols developed for a single coast spill didn't get it right because it's not the same. I think it's important to give the people we really want to take responsibility a way of saying ah, yes, you're right and jump on the bandwagon with us. We need NIH to fund a 50 to 60 million dollar study because this is something that had never happened before.

Leifer on measuring airborne hydrocarbons:

The way we did the measurements we had evacuated stainless steel 1 liter cylinders opened up to very gradually and gently allow air to enter into the container and then sealed. These were collected on a boat and also in NOAA airplanes...

Leifer on aerosols:

[Concerning] aerosol, so when oil comes up on the beaches as the wave breaks there is aerosol generated in the air, and that can be breathed by people. ...

The aerosolization are really tiny droplets smaller than a hair but still pretty large, and they can not stay airborne for very long before they will fall back down to the ground. Maybe a couple of miles inshore. So you would expect people right near the beach would be at risk from aerosol related problems. ...

We know that aerosolization in past spills always cause a lot of people to get sick. In this spill, probably the same. They are droplets that are large enough that if they get into your lungs your body can potentially remove them, or maybe not because they are tar so it may get stuck in there. ...

Leifer on the rain:

I know there were clouds filled with hydrocarbons. This is from the remote sensing data showing that a cloud -- maybe it is 1/2 mile thick -- had about .1 or .2mm of oil equivalent in it spread out through the whole thing. When it rains, whatever is in it is going to come down...

Leifer on the Gulf's future

[I]t is silly for us not to learn from the experiences of our friends in Europe who have also experienced oil spills in recent years and documented widespread health impacts. As Americans, if we can learn from them we can avoid the mysterious Gulf Coast Health Syndrome appearing five years from now that nobody figures out what it is until 10 years from now with a lot of people getting sick and very ill in the interim.

10 comments to NASA oil spill scientist: “I know there were clouds filled with hydrocarbons” — Discusses “Gulf Coast Health Syndrome”

  • WindorSolarPlease

    With clouds filled with hydrocarbons and airborne particles of toxins can this travel,(like a weather pattern does) moving from State to State or Country to Country?

  • xdrfox

    VIA Jet Stream !

  • xdrfox

    They had chemical rains over the summer in the UK, with plants showing same burns and distortions as we got here in the States. It's still up there too ... It's Snowing Oil in Seattle and... It Gets Stranger ! *VIDEO*
    on Sunday, January 23, 2011 ...

  • xdrfox

    Plants are Showing Us There Is Something in The Rain. (Pictures)
    on Monday, October 11, 2010 ...

  • WindorSolarPlease

    Thanks for the links xdrfox.
    This is a disaster that keeps giving.

  • soozla

    The volatiles ARE continuous.The 50-60 million dollar study unnecessary....
    NASA has been so kind as to explain what anyone starting a smoky fire..would know.
    WOW..there are particulates in the smoke. Cough ,cough.
    The money would be better spent on setting up detox centers...
    The volatiles ARE continuous..and NASA would best serve the people by continuous testing...a few answers as to the effects of burning the oil/dispersant mix would be nice. We already know that burning hydrocarbons creates oxide of sulphur aka acid rain. What are the current levels of methane and the other related toxins?
    Not your department? whose department is it?
    NASA could and should do better things with its money..than this.

  • soozla

    "the mysterious Gulf Coast Health Syndrome"..
    ...nothing mysterious about chemical poisoning.

  • xdrfox

    The real tragedy here is Everyone Up top keep calling this a Oil Spill, Not what is was a Oil Volcano spewing new deadly VOC's and heavy metals into the waters and air every hour for months, then adding injury to even more to earths inhabitants was to "continuously add a mix of Corexit for months" to the already deadly problems multiplying the deadly ill effects to everything/everyone breathing on earth. Added was the other Corexit treatment elsewhere in the oceans for other Oil leaks and spills the oceans. Oceans feed the woulds water supplies and now they are tainted and so will our rain and waters elsewhere. Chemicals that were meant to be used in small quantities for short periods of time were allowed to be used in ways never meant to be.

  • xdrfox

    Oops.. Correction: Oceans feed the worlds water supplies and ...

  • alana

    you could ask the specialists who put out the iraqi oilfield fires out, about respiratory problems and lung damage, except they're mostly gone, all died within 18 months, rest in peace. the only ones who survived had worn chemical masks with filters changed out every 15 minutes.

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