A study conducted by NOAA and the FDA, building upon the extensive testing and protocols already in use by federal, state and local officials for the fishing waters of the Gulf, NOAA and the FDA are using a chemical test to detect dispersants used in the Deepwater Horizon-BP oil spill in fish, oysters, crab and shrimp. Trace amounts of the chemicals used in dispersants are common, and levels for safety have been previously set. Previous testing involved a "sensory analysis process".
Using this new test in the Gulf scientists have tested 1,735 tissue samples including more than half of those collected to reopen Gulf of Mexico federal waters. Only a few showed trace amounts of dispersants residue (13 of the 1,735) and they were well below the safety threshold of 100 parts per million for finfish and 500 parts per million for shrimp, crabs and oysters. As such, the study concludes that they do not pose a threat to human health.
The new test detects dioctyl sodium sulfosuccinate, known as DOSS, a major component of the dispersants used in the Gulf. DOSS is also approved by FDA for use in various household products and over-the-counter medication at very low levels. The best scientific data to date indicates that DOSS does not build up in fish tissues.
"The rigorous testing we have done from the very beginning gives us confidence in the safety of seafood being brought to market from the Gulf," said Jane Lubchenco, Ph.D., under secretary for commerce and NOAA administrator. "This test adds another layer of information, reinforcing our findings to date that seafood from the Gulf remains safe."
"This new test should help strengthen consumer confidence in Gulf seafood," said Margaret A. Hamburg, Ph.D., commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration. "The overwhelming majority of the seafood tested shows no detectable residue, and not one of the samples shows a residue level that would be harmful for humans. There is no question Gulf seafood coming to market is safe from oil or dispersant residue."
For more information: http://www.noaanews.noaa.gov/stories2010/20101029_seafood.html