Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Have they tested for Corexit? - Updated

Okay, maybe it's just because everyone never reported these events at once before but this whole mass deaths of birds and fish is starting to get really freaky. Since my earlier post, reports are now coming in from all over the world. In the last eight hours:

Dead jackdraws in Sweden. Initial estimates at 50-100 but I've seen much larger estimates somewhere since then.

In Maryland, an estimated 2 million fish were found dead in the Chesapeake Bay. Officials report "similar large winter fish deaths were documented in 1976 and 1980." But there's more.
ParanaOnline reports that 100 tons of sardines, croaker and catfish have washed up in Brazilian fishing towns since last Thursday. The cause of the deaths is unknown, with an imbalance in the environment, chemical pollution, or accidental release from a fishing boat all suggested by local officials.

In New Zealand, hundreds of dead snapper fish washed up on Coromandel Peninsula beaches, many found with their eyes missing, The New Zealand Herald reports. A Department of Conservation official allegedly claims the fish were starving due to weather conditions.

And remember the initial report from Kentucky was just a couple of dozen birds in one yard, That's changed. Now, State wildlife officials say "'several hundred' dead birds were found near the Murray State University campus last week."

Also, a report that "more than 40,000 dead Velvet swimming crabs have appeared on the Thanet shoreline in England. Dead starfish, lobsters, sponges and anemones were also found." Their expert says "the same thing happened two and five years ago. He suspects that the cold temperatures are to blame."

Maybe it's not unprecedented but the simultaneous timing of the deaths feels somewhat unnatural. It's tempting to blame simple climate disruption, but in reading the descriptions of the dead birds, I was struck by their similarity to Corexit poisoning. "It ruptures red blood cells, causes internal bleeding, and liver and kidney damage."

Considering time, ocean currents and weather patterns, it doesn't feel like much of a stretch to consider all those tons of dispersants dumped in the Gulf after the BP gusher as a possible cause.

Update: To put it into better perspective, this interactive map of the massive kills is striking. As I said, very freaky.

[Big thanks to Avedon for kindly linking. If you're not reading her every day -- well -- why not?]


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Anonymous Anonymous said...

latest test results into it shows no signs of poison or disease... the fish seem to be do to the waters being colder than normal, since the crabs, lobster, ect in england were partially frozen when they washed up on shore. The birds the assume are due to shock/stress from fireworks, cold weather or trouble finding food.

6:48:00 PM  
Blogger Libby Spencer said...

Yeah, I read the official explanations but Corexit isn't a poison they would normally test for. Would be interesting if they did.

7:26:00 PM  
Anonymous Jolly Roger said...

I would imagine we'll hear all kinds of "explanations" in the next few days. I'm disinclined to put much stock in any of them. This is just too weird.

7:41:00 AM  
Blogger Libby Spencer said...

It's that so many are happening all at once that I find really freaky.

12:54:00 PM  
Blogger ph said...

I agree with your thoughts about the corexit. They are not testing for it - more extensive tests are required than simple test for poisoning. Not much has been said about causes of the fish deaths, but with the bird deaths internal hemorrhaging and bleeding. See the latest test results for the Beebe, AK case.

10:17:00 AM  
Blogger ph said...

Here is an updated map of the animal deaths around the world. The earliest entries are from the summer and originate around the Gulf of Mexico.,-30.234375&spn=177.011412,307.265625&z=1

There are a few stories linked with scientists discussing contamination of the food chain by the corexit/oil.

10:19:00 AM  

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