TEST RESULTS ALERT: “Greater Risk” Alkylated PAHs Detected in Seafood Samples from the Wetlands and Estuaries Along Louisiana Coast


Some of my environmental clients are releasing results of field testing in Louisiana, and the findings continue to indicate higher levels of contamination in seafood than the official “all clear” declaration might have us believe.

“Wetlands and ecosystem soil/sediment samples and aquatic tissue samples from all areas sampled contained Alkylated PAHs and Oil Range Organic Petroleum Hydrocarbons,” says the report summary, which also promises that “… a number of additional tissue samples are currently being analyzed and will be reported in the near future.”

The testing is being conducted by the Lower Mississippi River Keeper (LMRK), Louisiana Environmental Action Network (LEAN), and the Subra Company – the firm led by Wilma Subra, who has been widely cited as an expert source in a variety of media reports.

In tissue samples, the report says: “Alkylated PAHs were and continue to be detected in aquatic seafood species from the wetlands and estuaries along the Louisiana coast from Atchafalaya Bay eastward to the Louisiana/Mississippi border.”

The PAHs – or polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons – have long been a human health threat, but “alkylated PAHs” are believed to pose even GREATER RISKS in part because they easily oxidize into toxic compounds.

These new test results only continue to add to the independent body of evidence that there remains widespread contamination in a variety of Gulf seafood from a variety of locations. The only real questions center on unknowns, like: What do these levels mean to humans? And are real-world consumption levels (not the laughingly low “one shrimp poboy” levels the government is using) really keeping Gulf residents safe from tainted seafood? Unfortunately, we may have to wait a while to know that.

For more on the effort, visit: http://saveourgulf.org/

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Stuart H. Smith is an attorney based in New Orleans fighting major oil companies and other polluters.
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