Sickened by Algae? “All of us had sinus problems for hours after” — “It smelled like the oil you drain from your car”


LSU specialist concludes it's algae, not oil, in Gulf, Times-Picayune, October 25, 2010:

An LSU algae specialist on Monday concluded that the red substance covering miles of the near-shore Gulf off the Mississippi River delta is algae, not oil, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries said.

"It was brown; it was sticky; it smelled like the oil you drain from your car; and it took my husband, Bill, and friends a long time to scrub it off our boat," said Cindy Cruikshank of Destrehan, who was fishing in the area Saturday.

"It didn't look like an algae bloom. It looked like it was oil, with maybe something in it like plankton," she said. "And all of us had sinus problems for hours after running through it."

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries said it was "algae, not oil", though the specialist the agency cited was not so certain:

However, the specialist, Sibel Bargu Ates, is running further tests to determine if oil had accumulated in the algae, the agency said. ...

Ates said it is possible the substance could be a mixture of oil and algae, because oil can accumulate on the exterior of algae as well as be absorbed by algae.

Past statements by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries:

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