It has been a year since the BP oil spill, currently considered the largest oil spill on the Gulf. After a year has passed, researchers are still continuing studies and tests into the effects the oil spill has created on food, whether directly or otherwise.
The combination of crude oil and chemical dispersants that have been pumped into the waters deserve much-needed attention, especially with the change that they can bring to the environment. Crude oil contains a number of toxic materials. These materials, especially if taken into the body in large amounts, can cause immediate or long-term serious (in some cases, fatal) health effects. For instance, Benzene is a cancer-causing chemical while Toluene is one that may cause neurological effects; both are in crude oil.
Independent researchers have been discovering that even after a year, there are still considerable amounts of crude oil found below the surface of the sea, as well as on the ocean floor. The possibility that this could significantly affect the lower food chain and thus in turn affect the rates of reproduction of certain types of fish, like the Bluefin tuna, is being considered.
In addition, Oregon State University researchers are discovering carcinogenic chemicals in high concentrations in the Gulf while they were doing a study on the long-term effects of the oil spill. This can possibly affect consumers as seafood, specifically oysters, shrimp or other invertebrates, which have been exposed to these carcinogenic substances may also contain these cancer-causing chemicals. These chemicals can enter the body through the seafood that has been consumed.
Currently, there has not been a major conclusion about whether the BP oil spill will create any more future ecological catastrophes and severely affect the food chain. In the end, only time will be able to tell whether the oil contamination and its clean-up process has done the environment more good than bad.