Catherine Crier to Ken Feinberg, or what happens when a lawyer queries another lawyer: You get a lot of circuitous CYA bullshit before actually getting to the heart of the matter. Crier set the premise well — "fish populations are beginning to show very disturbing mutations as well as diminution of populations, long term chemical organic activity" — but, inexplicably asked the wrong question: "is that a compensation pool as well?" The "long term chemical organic activity" [Attention Alex: clickee the thingee-linkee above] is not about a separate compensation pool (that's ancillary), rather, it should be about People FIRST, fish SECOND.
The questions most concerning to people are, FIRST, is Gulf seafood safe to consume, and only then, how will the fish populations be impacted? In short, Catherine's knee-jerk "professional courtesy" approach was to give Feinberg plenty of wiggle room. He needed it. After a rambling, lawyerly CYA reply, Feinberg finally came around to his BIG LIE: "There is absolutely no current evidence that the food is bad, that it’s not safe." A Straight-Up LIE.
But he buried this declarative LIE in a maze of qualifiers: "... there's a fine line here" [trans: don't take my word for it], "... other allegations" [trans: the FDA relaxed its allowable levels of concern (LOCs) of "polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) ... (see clickee/thingee/linkee, Alex), which can accumulate in seafood, are known carcinogens and developmental toxicants"— a nice seafood chemical cocktail which "bio-accumulates" in our tissues, meaning they're there forever, resulting, at a minimum, in increased risk to pregnant women],... we’re ever vigilant, we’re watching the seafood, we’re watching gulf ecosystems" [trans: the "monitoring" agencies have colluded with BP and industry interests to cook the LOC books, deeming the risk of ingesting tainted seafood acceptably high, considering Gulf seafood represents 40% of America's total consumption, an unacceptable economic risk compared to the risk to people's health, which is always secondary], don't worry be happy, "... that's a long term monitoring initiative to keep our eyes on the Gulf going forward." [Trans: Bullshit.]
On the other side of NOW Andrea Mitchell completed the Daily Double coverup by interviewing long-time bought oil and gas industry hack, Democratic Senator Mary Landrieu of Louisiana. Andrea's concession to the public interest was to mention in passing the AP story, which covered the same ground as Al Jazeera's report, without the same level of detail. Here's Landrieu literally selling POISON to Andrea's viewers and LYING even more blatantly than Feinberg: " All the studies show that Gulf seafood is safe to eat. I mean, we are eating it in Louisiana. We're frying it and eating it as fast as we can. Our oysters are good, our shrimp are good and safe according to every test done." [OMG! Excuse me while I puke, literally, thinking about eyeless shrimp, fish with gross lesions and growths, and chemicals that can be viewed under one's skin with UV light!] "But there's still some science that we need to know about how the dispersants worked. What are the long-term effects."
Background: The BP oil spill of 2010 resulted in contamination of one of the most productive fisheries in the United States by polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). PAHs, which can accumulate in seafood, are known carcinogens and developmental toxicants. In response to the oil spill, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) developed risk criteria and established thresholds for allowable levels [levels of concern (LOCs)] of PAH contaminants in Gulf Coast seafood.Objectives: We evaluated the degree to which the FDA’s risk criteria adequately protect vulnerable Gulf Coast populations from cancer risk associated with PAHs in seafood.Discussion: The FDA LOCs significantly underestimate risk from seafood contaminants among sensitive Gulf Coast populations by failing to a) account for the increased vulnerability of the developing fetus and child; b) use appropriate seafood consumption rates; c) include all relevant health end points; and d) incorporate health-protective estimates of exposure duration and acceptable risk. For benzo[a]pyrene and naphthalene, revised LOCs are between two and four orders of magnitude below the level set by the FDA. Comparison of measured levels of PAHs in Gulf seafood with the revised LOCs revealed that up to 53% of Gulf shrimp samples were above LOCs for pregnant women who are high-end seafood consumers.Conclusions: FDA risk assessment methods should be updated to better reflect current risk assessment practices and to protect vulnerable populations such as pregnant women and children.
Too bad Alex and Andrea weren't prepared to ask more pertinent and incisive questions about the safety of Gulf seafood so that we, as consumers, could make informed decisions. I hate to break it to you, Alex and no-excuses Andrea, but it's your jobs, you know. "Mary Landrieu, on the case." Nice ass-kissing touch, Andrea.