Skip to main content

View Diary: Gulf Oil Spill Mythbusters (62 comments)

Comment Preferences

  •  Miners are supposed to wear respirators..... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Larsstephens

    and they do until they don't.  Then they wind up with more problems, partly based on their own choices (well and smoking doesn't help).

    I am not being cynical, but trying to be practical.  Obviously cleaning up this shit is costly for human health, but the skin absorption is doubtless a bigger risk.

    How often should these cartidges be changed?  Who is paying for them?  For that matter, who is paying the workers?  Some are working without contracts and are hoping to be paid later.  Who is training and monitoring the workers?  People are working BP obviously should be, but they get around this by saying these are independent contractors.  As far as I can tell, BP isn't really paying people all that regularly.

    Is there no way to measure the accumulation of toxins in the respirators?  Is there no way to take a blood sample and look for a response to the organics from liver enzymes?  

    I am not challenging your expertise, ashowboat.  As I said, I am willing to be persuaded there need to be improvement, and we need to learn on the job here.  But my experience working with risk management and safety is that all the personal protection devices in the world won't work if people won't use them.  BP certainly shouldn't be forbidding them.  But mandating isn't good either.

    I think training, equiment and counting on people to take care of their own health with enough education is the best way.  But this whole show seems very uncoordinated.

    You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you mad. Aldous Huxley

    by murrayewv on Fri Jun 04, 2010 at 08:19:57 PM PDT

    [ Parent ]

    •  Your argument BS (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      badger, blueoasis, o the umanity, wabird

      BP has no problem forcing the clean up workers to sign an agreement that prevents them talking to the media.  It is working very well with great compliance.  If you doubt this watch DemocracyNow from yesterday.  If BP can prevent them from talking to the media, they can easily force them to use protective devices they are issued.  This is what all the other employers in the country do to ensure compliance by their workers that need to wear protective devices.  It is quite simple, wear the device or you are fired.

      All your questions about how things work how often the cartridges need to be changed is a smoke screen.  There are established procedures for the use of respirators in these types of environments.  Contrary to your statement, we do not need to "learn on the job here"  This is settled science that is well understood.  The bottom line is that BP does not want to issue respirators because of the cost and the admission of increased liability.  As always with a big corporation, it is all about the money.

      •  Then where is NIOSH and OSHA on this? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Larsstephens

        If it is simple regulation folks are required to wear these respirators in outdoor environment, then why isn't this being enforced?

        You would really help your cause by citing the appropriate CFRs here- and I am not being sarcastic.  If you know they exist but can't find them, give me a hint and I will look so we can share this information.

        I believe BP would be hard pressed to establish a contract which required people to not use safety gear BP considered unnecessary.  As for BP refusing to have contractors wear safety respirators, especially when people want to wear them, I think that would be indefensible PR.  I challenge you to identify someone who really did this.

        Requiring your workers not photograph and publicize your oil spill, my guess is BP leagally can require that, but it is subject to criticism from folks like us.  Forbiding your worker to spread bad PR is not the same as making them risk their lives to work.

        You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you mad. Aldous Huxley

        by murrayewv on Fri Jun 04, 2010 at 09:01:18 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  NIOSH, OSHA and EPA are likely being told to back (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          blueoasis, wabird

          off.  Otherwise we would have real-time VOC (volatile organic compounds) monitoring available online for every major community along the Gulf Coast.  Such as this.

          •  bog standard anti-government comment..... (0+ / 0-)

            Did you read your link?

            Today the Louisiana Environmental Action Network released its analysis of air monitoring test results by the Environmental Protection Agency. The EPA's air testing data comes from Venice, a coastal community 75 miles south of New Orleans in Louisiana's Plaquemines Parish.

            THIS IS EPA DATA.  THE EPA COLLECTED AND RELEASED IT!

            Someone is calling off the scientists from three separate, independent agencies.  Why?  Are you accusing Obama and his administration of being in the pay of whom?  And still the EPA is releasing the data to the environmental groups and anyone who goes to the internet to read it.

            Government scientists aren't quite so easily bought off or threatened- and to do it to three separate agencies in a crisis takes time and effort from someone.  And there will be some sort of outcry if this is true.

            Here once again is the link to the EPA VOC monitoring network along the coast and publicly posted data?  

            You owe the EPA an apology.

            You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you mad. Aldous Huxley

            by murrayewv on Sat Jun 05, 2010 at 05:52:46 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Have they expanded VOC monitoring into every (0+ / 0-)

              community over 1,000 folks along the Gulf Coast?  Has the state air quality regulatory body to which EPA delegates enforcement of the Clean Air Act)responded to every request for such monitoring?  Are they monitoring sites where the cleanup crews and boom crews on the water are working?  I don't owe anyone an apology, as I know something about air quality monitoring, and I guarantee everything that can be done is not being done.  Monitoring data is a requirement for litigation and fines to be imposed by EPA.  The data from Venice is ALL I've seen through this whole affair, and I suspect the information is suppressed or not available at all.  If you can find me some additional real time VOC monitoring data from at or near the spill site, I'd appreciate the information.

        •  Where is the EPA? (0+ / 0-)

          Where is the USCG? Where is our government?

          They're all in the backseat. Meaning that for whatever reason they are all answering to BP.

          •  Where are they? (0+ / 0-)

            Doing their job.  

            Today the Louisiana Environmental Action Network released its analysis of air monitoring test results by the Environmental Protection Agency. The EPA's air testing data comes from Venice, a coastal community 75 miles south of New Orleans in Louisiana's Plaquemines Parish.

            http://www.southernstudies.org/...

            You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you mad. Aldous Huxley

            by murrayewv on Sat Jun 05, 2010 at 05:53:53 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I looked at this recent data..... (0+ / 0-)

              in light of the questions about respirator use and folks like Rachel Maddow and her very sincere guest about the stench of the oil.  If you smell it, it must be toxic, correct?

              EPA has established data on many toxins, including the Hydrogen Sulfide reported to be at the highest levels.  Unfortunately they are presenting this analysis in an inflammatory way that is inaccurate.  All Benzene may be a VOC, but not all VOC is benzene.  

              Reading the diary will indicate that it takes a long time to take the collection device and get it read, so the system isn't responsive.

              The levels collected are in the device at 3 ppm at the worst, and currently are at .4  to 1 ppm for VOCs and as high a 1 ppm for hydrogen sulfide, also bad for you.

              But how bad?  Respirator bad?

              Wikipedia provides some interesting summary files on Hydrogen sulfide, which is one of the main compounds people are smelling when they are out working on the oil covered waters.

              0.00047 ppm is the recognition threshold, the concentration at which 50% of humans can detect the characteristic odor of hydrogen sulfide,[12] normally described as resembling "a rotten egg".
              Less than 10 ppm has an exposure limit of 8 hours per day.
              10–20 ppm is the borderline concentration for eye irritation.
              50–100 ppm leads to eye damage.
              At 100–150 ppm the olfactory nerve is paralyzed after a few inhalations, and the sense of smell disappears, often together with awareness of danger.[13][14]
              320–530 ppm leads to pulmonary edema with the possibility of death.
              530–1000 ppm causes strong stimulation of the central nervous system and rapid breathing, leading to loss of breathing.
              800 ppm is the lethal concentration for 50% of humans for 5 minutes exposure (LC50).
              Concentrations over 1000 ppm cause immediate collapse with loss of breathing, even after inhalation of a single breath.

              link

              Long-term, low-level exposure may result in fatigue, loss of appetite, headaches, irritability, poor memory, and dizziness.

              Here is the link to the Acute Exposure Guidelines from the EPA for Hydrogen Sulfide: http://www.epa.gov/...

              Hydrogen sulfide     7783-06-4      
                            ppm     9/10/02
                     10 min    30 min    60 min     4 hr     8 hr
              AEGL 1   0.75      0.60     0.51        0.36     0.33  
              AEGL 2   41       32       27          20     17  
              AEGL 3   76       59       50          37     31  

              So what are the three different levels?

              AEGL-1 is the airborne concentration (expressed as parts per million or milligrams per cubic meter [ppm or mg/m3]) of a substance above which it is predicted that the general population, including susceptible individuals, could experience notable discomfort, irritation, or certain asymptomatic, non-sensory effects. However, the effects are not disabling and are transient and reversible upon cessation of exposure.
              AEGL-2 is the airborne concentration (expressed as ppm or mg/m3) of a substance above which it is predicted that the general population, including susceptible individuals, could experience irreversible or other serious, long-lasting adverse health effects or an impaired ability to escape.

              AEGL-3 is the airborne concentration (expressed as ppm or mg/m3) of a substance above which it is predicted that the general population, including susceptible individuals, could experience life-threatening health effects or death.

              http://www.epa.gov/...

              So very small amounts can be smelled, and levels of 1-2 ppm are undoubtedly not good for making you feel good.  They are well above the AEGL-1 level.  

              They are well below the AEGL-2 level.

              The problem is, where do you wear a respirator?  At what level?

              NIOSH are the respirator folks and they recommend these respirators for Hydrogen Sulfide:
              http://www.cdc.gov/...

              What are their exposure limits?

              Exposure Limits
              NIOSH REL: C 10 ppm (15 mg/m3) [10-minute]
              OSHA PEL†: C 20 ppm 50 ppm [10-minute maximum peak]

              So they are worried at 10 ppm, but these levels are 1 ppm.  Not respirator worthy, would be my guess, but who will come out and definitively say that?  More from OSHA on this:

              http://ohsonline.com/...  

              So OSHA says you can be exposed to 10 ppm for a day long shift of 8 hours with no danger, long term.  This argues that 1 ppm, while horrible and stinky and having some effects, is probably not respirator worth.

              If this were your neighbor's sewage treatment plant or pig farm, you might disagree though.  Here is some data on the air quality in factory farms.  http://www.cspinet.org/...  

              I know, but there are lots of factory farm workers and lots of chances to follow their long term exposure to the H2S on the job.  We know a fair bit about manure.  This reference says Toxicity of Hydrogen Sulfide and they site this authority link.

              2 ppm: headaches
              2–10 ppm: respiratory, cardiovascular,
              and metabolic problems
              50–100 ppm: vomiting and diarrhea
              200 ppm: immunological problems
              500 ppm: loss of consciousness
              600 ppm: often fatal

              So a 1 ppm, people who are sensitive are undoubtedly feeling poorly, but according to EPA, these effects are not AEGL-2 until 17.  

              I know this may seem long-winded, but this is the point- authorities don't agree, but authorities are trying to find out.  And authorities, in all cases, are the government (EPA, NIOSH, OSHA), trying to keep you as healthy as they can.

              They must go home at night sometimes sad that they are working hard to keep things safe, and the progressive side of conspiracy theorists insist in believing they are sell-outs and bought off.

              You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you mad. Aldous Huxley

              by murrayewv on Sat Jun 05, 2010 at 06:39:18 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  truth is..... (0+ / 0-)

                if you can no longer smell it, it is more dangerous.  Higher levels kill your sense of smell and you can no longer smell much of anything, much less serious high levels.

                I think the biggest risk is oil absorbed through your skin, not evaporated chemicals diluted by air and then absorbed through your lungs.

                You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you mad. Aldous Huxley

                by murrayewv on Sat Jun 05, 2010 at 06:51:50 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  You know that this has nothing to do with (0+ / 0-)

                  any of the garbage that you just posted. Carbon monoxide has no odor. Propane has no odor. It doesn't matter if you smell it or not. The probability that these molecules and many other more dangerous ones exist at or above the surface of the oil is 100%. There is no debate about this.

                  Hydrogen sulfide is one, ONE, of hundreds or thousands of molecules floating about above any given patch of crude oil. You are playing a very dangerous game, trying to swing opinion and get people to trust you. I'm glad to see that I'm not the only one here who smells bullshit.

                  How many people will die because of people like you and your beliefs?

                  Your diary is not science. Most of your data comes from biased sources. You include just enough facts to make the rest of the crap that you're peddling seem plausible to those that don't know any better here. You are attempting to distract with these soft facts and fuzzy pseudo-scientific 'facts' from 'scientists' at BP.

                  What are you doing, and what do you stand to gain from doing this? Whatever, I recommend that you knock it off.

                  •  I admit you are right..... (0+ / 0-)

                    I am biased.  I do not think EPA, OSHA or NIOSH are incorrect and I will continue to cite their data.

                    I am not saying oil is good.  I am saying the volatiles are not as big a problem as you seem to fear, based on data from government sources.  Since you don't believe in the government data quality, I must agree to disagree with you.

                    You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you mad. Aldous Huxley

                    by murrayewv on Sat Jun 05, 2010 at 01:40:11 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site