NOAA’s lead public affairs officer “demanded” website “withdraw its story” on Gulf

*Update below

NOAA Official Asks EINNEWS to Withdraw Story Questioning Safety of Gulf Seafood, EIN Presswire, November 5, 2010:

A U.S. government spokesperson reacted sharply today to an EIN news story questioning the safety of gulf seafood, saying “the veracity of the federal government seafood safety protocol or results are not in question by any qualified scientist.” EINNEWS said it stands by its story.

The official, Christine Patrick, the lead public affairs officer for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, demanded that EINNEWS withdraw its story. …

But contrary to Ms Patrick’s claim that “the results are not in question by any qualified scientist,” the scientific community has expressed concerns that the federal government has been too quick to help the Gulf fishery get back on its feet after the massive BP oil spill. …

Based on available literature EINNEWS supports its original story, will not withdraw it, and invites members of the scientific community to offer their opinions.

Some of EIN’s examples:

  • The DOSS safety “threshold” itself is controversial among scientists and represents a compromise with many authorities who believe it should be higher.
  • The Environmental Protection Agency asked BP to stop using the dispersant Corexit 9527’s because of short and long term concerns about its toxicity. … Despite the EPA’s concerns, Corexit 9527 was used until supplies ran out, and then was replaced with Corexit 9500.
  • The dispersants are known to kill incubating sea life.
  • In humans, long-term exposure can cause central nervous system problems or damage blood, kidneys or livers, according to the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention.
  • The FDA-NOAA statement made no mention of tests for PAHs (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons). These are cancer-causing chemicals in crude oil and can be taken in through fish and shellfish. A recent assessment of long term effects of the Exxon Valdez disaster in Alaska’s Prince William Sound concluded that that chemically dispersed oil was far more toxic than physically dispersed oil and that PAH in the water column was the primary cause.
  • The FDA-NOAA statement also failed to discuss the heavy metals found in oil itself. Heavy metals are trace contaminants in the crude oil, but they bioaccumulate up the food chain. Larger, predator fish could potentially pick up a significant amount of heavy metals from the oil contaminants, and mercury and lead are toxic to the brain and nervous system.
  • Many scientists are concerned that levels of some of these chemicals will increase through the food chain over time, resulting in worse problems with food safety several years from now.

According to EIN’s website:

Established in 1995, EIN News began by supplying business professionals and individuals with relevant and interesting news products. It has grown to become the largest digital news provider in Europe.

See update:

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