A scientific study quietly released during the holiday season shows that the 2010 BP gulf oil spill continues to devastate sea life. A peer-reviewed scientific study published on December 18, 2013 in Environmental Science and Technology, “Health of common Bottlenose Dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) in Barataria Bay (BB), Louisiana, following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill” concludes that dolphin mortality, prognosis and reproductive health are all highly influenced by the BP spill. Scientists captured dolphins in BB and a site thought to be uncontaminated by the spill. Forty-eight percent of the dolphins sampled from the contaminated sited were given a guarded or worse prognosis, and 17% were graded as poor or grave, indicating that they were not expected to survive.
The report states “the severity of disease, poor body condition, and high prevalence of abnormalities seen in BB dolphins is in stark contrast with the overall health status of dolphins from the SB [uncontaminated ] reference site, as well as with health conditions previously documented in bottlenose dolphins from other U.S. coastal sites.”
The same general area recently was found to have gross contamination of oily mats. A press release from the Environmental Defense Fund, National Wildlife Federation and National Audubon Society reports that “1.5 million pounds of ‘oily material’ have been recovered from the coast of Lafourche Parish in the past few weeks.”
The release continues to admonish: “New evidence like this report on Louisiana dolphins and the ongoing discovery of millions of pounds of tar mats in Louisiana are a smoking gun showing that BP’s ads implying that clean-up is over and the Gulf is better than ever are simply not true. The Gulf is still waiting for the realization of restoration that it deserves. The Gulf is still waiting for BP to accept accountability and to make things right.”
BP paid for the study, but now says that there is no proof that their oil is the causative factor in the poor health of the Dolphins who live in the oil-contaminated environment. Dolphin standings, deaths and lowered reproduction rates are not expected to turn around any time soon. The contaminants continue to surface. The health of thousands of species are not under study, but they are subject to the same conditions that affect the dolphins.