The Tragic State of the Gulf of Mexico: Sampling Reveals Oil and Dispersants on Mississippi Coast

Wednesday, 12 January 2011 08:31 By Dahr Jamail and Erika Blumenfeld, t r u t h o u t | Report | name.

The Tragic State of the Gulf of Mexico: Sampling Reveals Oil and Dispersants on Mississippi Coast
Dead fish and oiled marsh grass, Blood Beach, Ocean Springs, Mississippi. (Photo: Erika Blumenfeld)

In October 2010, Truthout tested several water and soil samples from the Gulf of Mexico for chemicals in BP's crude oil and toxic dispersants. One sample of dead marine life was also tested.

Truthout also obtained and had analyzed a sample of pure Corexit 9500, one of the toxic dispersants used to sink the crude oil. The dispersants BP has used in the Gulf of Mexico are banned in at least 19 other countries. BP has used at least 1.9 million gallons of the dispersants in the Gulf of Mexico to sink their 4.9 million barrels of crude oil.

The samples were tested in a private lab via gas chromatography by an analyst who requested anonymity.

Pass Christian Harbor at dusk. Photo: Erika Blumenfeld

Pass Christian Harbor at dusk. (Photo: Erika Blumenfeld)

Lab tests have confirmed oil and chemicals from the dispersants in the samples tested, which contradicts ongoing statements from both BP and the Obama administration that the Gulf of Mexico is safe from the effects of the BP oil disaster.

Corexit 9500

Erika Blumenfeld

Dahr Jamail, an independent journalist, is the author of "The Will to Resist: Soldiers Who Refuse to Fight in Iraq and Afghanistan," (Haymarket Books, 2009), and "Beyond the Green Zone: Dispatches From an Unembedded Journalist in Occupied Iraq," (Haymarket Books, 2007). Jamail reported from occupied Iraq for nine months as well as from Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Turkey over the last five years.

Erika Blumenfeld is an internationally exhibiting artist and Guggenheim Fellow with a BFA in Photography from Parsons School of Design. She is known for her Light Recordings series, and her ambitious work The Polar Project, a series of environment-focused artworks that document the environment of Antarctica and the Arctic. Blumenfeld’s installations have been exhibited widely in galleries and museums in the US and abroad, and have been featured in /Art In America/, /ARTnews/ and more than half a dozen books. She is posting her photographs of the Gulf Coast on her blog.

Last modified on Wednesday, 12 January 2011 09:05