Gulf of Mexico oysters consumed little, if any of the crude oil from the 2010 BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill that spewed nearly half a million tons of crude oil into Gulf waters, according to a recent scientific paper. A study last year by University of New Orleans oyster biologist Thomas Soniat similarly found that oysters -- at known oil-exposed sites in Louisiana -- showed no contamination or apparent biological signs of exposure six months after the 2010 spill.
Since the oil spill, fishermen and consumers have been concerned about the status of the local fisheries, but, in terms of consumption, federal and state scientists have made clear that local seafood is safe to eat. Still, despite such assurances, questions inevitably have lingered.
"Often referred to as the worst environmental disaster in America's history, the Deepwater Horizon oil spill was expected to significantly alter the Gulf of Mexico marine ecosystem with potentially long-term effects to coastal and open waters," the Environmental Science & Technology paper published last month states. "In many cases, however, the extent and nature of effects have been difficult to quantify due to the physical setting, offshore application of dispersants, potentially rapid microbial degradation and low detection rates for affected organisms.
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