All's Well That Ends Oil Well - Michael Blum

  • Aired:  08/19/10
  •  | Views: 45,633

As the shrimp season begins, Michael Blum discusses the human health risks caused by the BP oil spill. (5:11)

>> Stephen: WELCOME BACK,

EVERYBODY.

FOLKS, IT LOOKS LIKE THE GULF

HAS COMPLETELY RECOVERED FROM

THE OIL SPILL.

THE BEACHES ARE ALL TAR BALL

FREE.

PRESIDENT OBAMA SWAM IN IT, AND

ALL ACROSS THE REGION PEOPLE ARE

RETURNING TO THEIR EVERYDAY

LIVES OF ABJECT POVERTY.

BUT SOME SIGNS SAY THERE'S STILL

OIL IN MILES LONG UNDERWATER

PLUMES THAT CAN CONTAMINATE THE

FOOD CHAIN AND DEPLETE OXYGEN.

EXCUSE ME.

IF THERE'S OXYGEN UNDERWATER,

WHY HAVEN'T I BEEN ABLE TO

BREATH IT?

REALISTIC AQUAMAN COSTUME MY

ASS!

I ALMOST DROWNED.

WELL, THANK GOODNESS THE SPILL

GOT FIXED IN TIME FOR THE GULF'S

BIG ANNUAL EVENT.

NO, NOT MARDI GRAS OR THE DAY

BEFORE MARDI GRAS WHEN THEY

FINISH MOPPING UP THE VOMIT FROM

LAST YEAR'S MARDI GRAS, THIS.

>> IT WAS FIRST DAY OF SHOW

SEASON TODAY, AND FOR THE FIRST

TIME SINCE B.P.M. OIL BEGAN

SEEPING INTO LOUISIANA WATERS,

THE SHRIMP BOATS HEADED BACK TO

WORK.

>> YES, IT IS SHRIMP SEASON, AND

THE F.D.A. ASSURES ME THAT

SEAFOOD FROM THE GULF TESTED

BELOW THE LEVEL OF CONCERN FOR

HEALTH RISKS FROM PETROLEUM

COMPOUNDS.

BELOW THE LEVEL OF CONCERN FOR

HEALTH RISKS?

MMM.

MY MOUTH IS WATERING ALREADY.

AND FOLKS, THESE TESTS ARE

THOROUGH.

>> A MAJOR LINE OF DEFENSE

AGAINST OIL SEAFOOD STARTS WITH

A SNIFF.

>> IT PROBABLY HAS A GAS TAINT

TO IT OR A SLIGHT PETROLEUM

TAINT TO IT.

>> A PETROLEUM TAINT IS VERY

OBVIOUS.

>> OUR RIGOROUS PROTOCOLS ENABLE

US TO DETECT TAINT

>> Stephen: THAT'S RIGHT.

OUR INSPECTORS ARE SO GOOD, THEY

CAN FIND SHRIMP TAINT BY SMELL.

YOU KNOW HOW HARD THAT IS?

I NEED A JEWELER'S LOOP TO EVEN

SEE SHRIMP TAINT.

ALTHOUGH I PRIDE MYSELF ON MY

ABILITY TO SMELL MOTHBALLS.

THINGS ARE LOOKING SO GOOD IN

THE GULF THAT I DON'T WANT TO

HEAR ANY MORE ABOUT THIS PHONY

CRISIS.

HERE TO TELL ME MORE ABOUT THIS

PHONY CRISIS, PLEASE WELCOME

ASSISTANT PROFESSOR IN THE

DEPARTMENT OF ECOLOGY AND

EVOLUTIONARY BIOLOGY AT TULANE

UNIVERSITY, MICHAEL BLUM.

MICHAEL BLUM, THANK YOU SO MUCH

FOR COMING ON.

OIL'S ALL GONE, RIGHT?

>> OIL'S GONE.

>> OIL THAT'S OUT OF SIGHT

DOESN'T MEAN THERE'S NO RISK.

>> Stephen: WELK MAYBE, MAYBE,

MAYBE IT WAS A MIRACLE.

MIRACLE'S HAPPEN.

JESUS TURNED WATER INTO WINE.

>> WATER INTO WINE, OIL INTO

WATER.

>> Stephen: MAYBE HE COULD

TURN OIL INTO WATER AND THEN

TURN IT BACK TO WINE AGAIN FOR

MARDI GRAS.

>> WE HAVE OIL THAT DISSOLVES

INTO WATER.

WE STILL HAVE THINGS LIKE

BENZENE AND ARSENIC.

THE CONCERN IS IT WILL BE A

HUMAN HEALTH RISK.

>> Stephen: WE DON'T EAT FISH

FOR A COUPLE WEEKS.

WE LAY OFF THE GORTON'S FISH

STICKS AND EVERYTHING IS JIM

CRACKY, RIGHT?

>> WELL, THERE'S MORE FISH

COMING FROM THE GULF THAN ALMOST

ANYWHERE ELSE IN THE UNITED

STATES.

40% OF FISHERY'S PRODUCTION

COMES FROM THE GULF OF MEXICO

SOME YOU'RE ASKING A WHOLE

NATION TO STOP EATING FISH.

>> Stephen: WHERE IS YOUR

PROOF OF WHERE THE OIL IS.

SOUNDS LIKE YOU'RE A NERVOUS

NELLIE WHO JUST DOESN'T WANT TO

DRINK BENZENE.

>> I ACTUALLY WOULDN'T WANT TO

DRINK BENZENE.

I THINK MOST FOLKS WOULD FEEL

THE SAME WAY.

WE KNOW VERY LITTLE ABOUT HOW

DISPERSANTS ACT IN THE

ENVIRONMENT, PARTICULARLY IN

DEPTHS OF THOUSANDS OF METERS.

SO OUR STATE OF UNDERSTANDING OF

THE SPILL LAGS BEHIND SOME OF

THE ANNOUNCEMENTS BEING MADE.

>> Stephen: YOU DON'T

UNDERSTAND.

IF IT'S LEGAL FOR THESE GUYS TO

GET THE SHRIMP AND FOR US TO EAT

THE SHRIMP, AND I WOULD EAT THE

GULF SHRIMP, I'M FAN OF THE

SHRIMPERS, AREN'T THEY GOING TO

MAKE MONEY OFF OF FARMING THE

SHRIMP?

>> CERTAINLY.

>> Stephen: SO SHOULDN'T THEY

GIVE MONEY BACK TO B.P.?

[LAUGHTER]

DIDN'T THEY GET MONEY BASED ON

NOT BEING ABLE TO HARVEST THAT

SHRIMP?

WHO IS THE VICTIM HERE IS WHAT

I'M ASKING?

>> THE LOCAL COMMUNITIES, THE

THAT RICHING COMMUNITIES.

IN THE NEAR TERM SHRIMP BOATS

ARE GOING OUT AND CAPTURING

SHRIMP.

BUT YOU HAVE TO LOOK AT IT IN A

FIVE-YEAR TIME HORIZON WHERE

YIELDS WILL BE DOWN, COMMUNITIES

WILL BE AT RISK AND IN PERIL

BECAUSE LOVES ECONOMIES.

>> Stephen: HOWK -- HOW LONG

SHOULD I CARE.

>> THAT'S A TOUGH QUESTION TO

ANSWER.

>> Stephen: BALLPARK MY HEART.

>> YEARS.

>> Stephen: I HAVE THE CARE

ABOUT THIS FOR YEARS?

>> YEARS.

>> Stephen: THERE WILL BE NO

FOOTAGE OF OIL SPEWING FROM THE

BOTTOM OF THE OCEAN.

HOW CAN I CARE ABOUT SOMETHING I

CAN'T SEE?

THE OIL IS NOT GOD.

>> BUT IT IS THE ENVIRONMENT.

IT IS PART OF NATURE.

AND THE CONCERNS THAT ARE BEING

RAISED AND REALLY THE ARC OF THE

EVENT, WE'RE JUST AT THE

BEGINNING OF THIS.

WE'RE TRYING TO FIGURE OUT HOW

LONG THOSE RISKS ARE OUT THERE.

WE'VE SEEN 100 DAYS PLUS OF OIL

BEING SPILLED INTO THE

ENVIRONMENTMENT WE'RE JUST

PASSING INTO THE PHASE WHERE

WE'RE TRYING TO RECOVER.

>> Stephen: DO YOU LIVE DOWN

THERE?

>> I DO.

>> Stephen: DO YOU EAT

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