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A healthy planet and healthy people need a healthy ocean. Make a donation today to help MERI preserve our oceans for tomorrow.


Dr. Shaw's TEDx Talk on the Gulf:

Institute Director discusses Gulf spill anniversary on MPBN

Maine Things Considered interviews Dr. Susan Shaw, who is in New Orleans at the Gulf Coast Leadership Forum, where she spoke on the long term effects of the spill. Click here to listen to the story.

Op-Ed in The Times predicts long term consequences of disaster

Dr. Susan Shaw questions the viewpoint that the Deepwater Horizon disaster is over and done with, in her op-ed,  "The cure for the Gulf oil spill is as bad as the sickness".

Gulf Coast Residents Dismayed as Effects of Oil Spill Continue

Courthouse News reports on some of the ongoing impacts of the oil spill, featuring an interview with the Institute's Dr. Susan Shaw. Click here to read the story.

Animal Wise Radio Revisits the Gulf Oil Spill

Nearly a year after the Deepwater Horizon disaster began, Animal Wise Radio interviews the Institute's Dr. Susan Shaw in order to learn more about the long term effects of the oil spill. You can listen to a podcast of the show (March 27) by clicking here.

Scientists discover that dispersants did not biograde months after oil spill

A team of scientists from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute & UC Santa Barbara has shown that chemical dispersants injected deep underwater did not quickly degrade, as had been previously reported. This independent research is vital. According to the scientists, "by knowing how the dispersant was distributed in the deep ocean, we can begin to assess the subsurface biological exposure, and ultimately what effects the dispersant might have had...we need toxicity studies.” Click here to view the press release.

Gulf spill interview proved most popular of 2010

The public's concern for the Gulf of Mexico cannot be overstated. An interview with the Institute's director on the effects of the oil spill and subsequent widespread use of dispersants made for the highest ratings of the year on David Guggenheim's The Ocean Doctor radio program.  You can listen to the interview here.

Gulf seafood safety remains under scrutiny

MSNBC reports that independent testing has disputed the results of the FDA's food safety testing. Many toxicologists “are questioning whether the FDA seafood testing program is stringent enough to protect public health.”  The Institute's director, Dr. Susan Shaw, was asked about recent findings: “What we’re seeing now is plausible evidence from independent labs that — just as we thought — there’s oil in the food web, and here’s where we’re finding it,” said Shaw. Read the article here.

Raw Story reports that Navy wants armed forces to eat more Gulf seafood

In an effort to boost an ailing fishery, troops may be served more seafood from the Gulf of Mexico. Many scientists are skeptical of reports that all fish from the Gulf is safe to eat. "I wouldn't eat shrimp, fish or crab caught in the Gulf," said Robert M. Naman, a chemist at ACT Labs in Mobile, Alabama, who conducted a test on Gulf seafood after being contacted by a New Orleans activist. "The problems people will face, health-wise, are something that people don't understand." Read the article here.

Illustration by Daniel Adel

Institute Director granted 'Noisemaker' Award for Work in Gulf

MORE's 2nd Annual Noisemaker Awards recognized the Institute director Susan Shaw as one of 11 women who were "voices to be reckoned with" in 2010. Shaw was tapped "for warning America that the 'cure' for the oil disaster in the Gulf may be worse than the spill."  According to MORE, "Shaw has become one of the most outspoken scientists on the subject of dispersants and the Gulf cleanup."  MERI's director will continue to raise awareness: "It’s going to take us years, probably decades, to document the impact on human health and the environment,” she says. “I think the media has moved on from the story, but people like me will continue to speak out.” You can view the story in the December 2010/January 2011 edition of MORE Magazine. Click here for the online edition.

Department of Interior Taps MERI Director for Gulf Spill Working Group

Some of America’s leading scientists have stepped up to bat for the Gulf of Mexico, including MERI's director, Dr. Susan Shaw.  She has been named to the Strategic Sciences Working Group (SSWG), a unique cross disciplinary working group comprised of 14 scientists with the power to influence the highest levels of government. In May, the SSWG conducted a rapid scientific assessment of the spill’s potential consequences. In September, the group convened in New Orleans to go a step further and provide policymakers with the information they need to accelerate the region’s recovery. They have relied on Shaw’s expertise to understand the spill’s health impacts on wildlife and people. “There is no safe level for exposure to carcinogenic, mutagenic chemicals in oil,” according to Shaw. Click here to read the full press release. The SSWG press packet is available here.

Well Is Sealed, But Gusher of Uncertainty Remains

The LA Times reports on the latest news from the Gulf. "Moderate to heavy oil impacts" continue to hit roughly 109 miles of coastline, much of it in Louisiana, according to the federal government. Yet many of the spill's impacts are still unknown. MERI's director was interviewed on the long term toxicity of the spill: "a better assessment, Shaw said, 'will take decades.'" Read the story here.

The Ecologist Questions Use of Dispersants

The leading environmental affairs website reports on the 'ill-conceived experiment' that has taken place on a vast scale in the gulf. ‘One of the main problems with [dispersants] is that they use large amounts of oxygen from the system when they break down,’ he says. ‘They have sprayed much of this stuff very close to shore here.’ Read the article here.

NOAA, FDA to Test Seafood for Dispersants

Due to public pressure, NOAA & the FDA are developing a test for seafood from the Gulf of Mexico.  “It’s very late (to start this testing), and it’s premature to open those fishing grounds while they are still developing the test,” says Susan Shaw, a toxicologist at the Maine Environmental Research Institute. Read about the subject here.

MERI's Director Issues Statement on EPA's Toxicity Testing

When the EPA announced on August 2 that its lab tests showed that dispersant, when mixed with oil, was no more toxic to aquatic life than oil alone, ocean scientists familiar with the large body of prior research on dispersant-oil mixtures were skeptical.  Testifying at a Senate “Oversight Hearing on the Use of Oil Dispersants in the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill," leading scientists noted that the EPA’s lab experiments had no relevancy at all in the deep sea. Dr. Susan Shaw shares this view. In a statement, she details the reasons why the EPA’s narrowly-focused tests should not be the basis for broad conclusions about the toxicity of oil-dispersant mixtures.  Read her statement here.

Dispersants Shifting Impact on Gulf Ecosystem

The New York Times asked scientists, including MERI's Susan Shaw, about the long term effects of dispersed oil. "This is a management decision, to use dispersants," College of William and Mary marine science professor Robert Diaz said yesterday. "It doesn't make the oil go away, it just puts it from one part of the ecosystem to another." Read the story here.

Sylvia Earle, Susan Shaw, and Other Scientists Share Their Concerns on Living on Earth

The International Public Radio program asks hard questions about the dispersants applied to the Gulf spill and clarifies why people should be concerned about their use. Read the story here, and listen to the mp3 here:

Toxic Tradeoff? Public Radio's "The Takeaway" Discusses Effects of Dispersants

MERI's director is featured in a conversation about the controversial use of Corexit dispersants in the Gulf cleanup effort. Listen here:


Nature News Investigates Impact of Dispersed Oil

The blog of the scientific journal asked several scientists to weigh in on the dangers of the toxic dispersant and oil mixture now circulating in the Gulf of Mexico. MERI's director noted the dispersant can increase the toxicity of the oil for marine life. "It's like a delivery system," says Shaw. "The [dispersed] oil enters the body more readily and it goes into the organs faster." Click here to read more.

Radio Interview: Learn Why Dispersants Are Harmful

Listen to Dr. Shaw explain why dispersants should not be used in Gulf waters in this interview with Dr. David Guggenheim. It aired on his new Web radio show, The Ocean Doctor.




NatGeo NewsWatch Interviews Susan Shaw over Oil Spill Concerns

The MERI director warned that a mix of oil and dispersants can have complex effects on the ocean food web. "The [government] agencies are overwhelmed," Shaw said. "There are certain species being monitored, but it's all separate. No-one's putting the whole picture together." Read more here.

At TEDxOilSpill Conference, Dr. Susan Shaw Delivers Urgent Call for Research

TED conferences bring together leading thinkers to tackle pressing issues. The June 28 event in Washington, D.C.  focused on the catastrophe in the Gulf. Shaw, MERI's director, addressed the impacts of massive quantities of crude oil and toxic dispersants on marine life. She is calling for an independent, region-wide scientific assessment of both short- and long-term effects of these toxins on the Gulf food web.  To watch, click here (Dr. Shaw speaks at 56:30).

MERI Director Featured on VBS.TV Show

The VBS.TV series Toxic recently interviewed Dr. Susan Shaw for a documentary piece on the crisis in the Gulf of Mexico and the profound effect it has had on the local environment in Louisiana and on the lives of the people who live there . You can view the show here.

Dr. Susan Shaw Interviewed by BBC Radio on use of Chemical Disperants in Gulf Oil Spill

MERI founder and director Dr. Susan Shaw was interviewed by the BBC World Service on the topic of chemical dispersants used in the Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill. Dr. Shaw related her experience of being in the water with the oil, and seeing first hand the effects on the marine food chain. To hear Dr. Shaw's interview, click here.

MERI Director Investigates Impacts of BP Disaster
on Gulf Sea Life

Dr. Shaw diving in oily dispersant-laden water in the Gulf of Mexico

MERI Director and marine toxicologist Dr. Susan Shaw just returned from the Gulf of Mexico where, accompanied by a London Times crew, she dove in the oil slick to get a first-hand look at impacts on marine life. She is one of few experts who have actually gone underwater to investigate the spill’s effects.

Here are excerpts from her Op-Ed “For the Gulf, It’s Death in the Ocean from Top to Bottom”:

“Sea life in the Gulf is facing not only death by oil and its cancer-causing components. The addition of toxic chemical dispersants may be causing fish, seabirds, and dolphins to drown in their own blood.

Chemical dispersants may have prevented some oil from coming ashore, but the real problem is what we are doing to the ocean itself.

© U.S. Coast Guard

Dispersants break up the oil into smaller pieces that sink in the water column, forming “bite size” packages of poison all the way to the sea floor.

It is death in the ocean from the top to the bottom.

The US EPA and NOAA need to take a strong stand to stop the release of toxic chemical dispersants to the Gulf. Millions of marine lives are at stake.

To read the Op-Ed in the New York Times click here.

To read more in the London Times: click here


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A Primer on Impact of Dispersants

From Food & Water Watch

The Institute's Director Discusses Use of Dispersants

Rick's List, July 9th 2010. Courtesy CNN


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