Mutant Seafood Hits Shores
Shrimp with missing eyes? Zombie crabs that are deteoriating from the inside out? Fish with sores? This all sounds like the making of a horror flick, but all of the above are actual aquatic creatures that have been found in Gulf waters as a result of the BP oil disaster.
The oil itself is not so much of a cause of the mutations as the actual chemical solvents used to clean up the spill, which are powerful enough to dissolve oil, grease and rubber and are known to be toxic to humans. Symptoms of exposure include "headaches, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pains, chest pains, respiratory system damage, skin sensitization, hypertension, central nervous system depression, neurotoxic effects, cardiac arrhythmia and cardiovascular damage." Not to mention the fact that they can also disturb the growth and development of a fetus.
The chemicals are known to have mutagenic effects, which is likely what is causing the symptoms seen in the sealife in the Gulf.
Some of the effects seen in the seafood are (via Gizmodo):
- Shrimp with tumors on their heads
- Shrimp with defects on their gills and "shells missing around their gills and head"
- Shrimp without eyes
- Shrimp with babies still attached to them
- Eyeless fish
- Fish without eye-sockets
- Fish without covers on their gills
- Fish with large pink masses hanging off their eyes and gills
- Crates of blue crabs, all of which were lacking at least one claw
- Crabs with holes in their shells
- Crabs with shells that have no spikes or claws or misshapen claws
- Crabs that are dying from within
With 40% of the nation's seafood supply coming from the Gulf, I urge you all to be careful in your purchases. If the seafood you are buying comes from the Gulf, avoid it. If you don't know what the source of the seafood is, don't buy it. I definitely think in this case it's better to be safe than sorry.
For alternatives to Gulf seafood, look for seafood sourced from the Pacific or Atlantic Oceans. Whole Foods still sells seafood from the Gulf so be careful when shopping there.
Get more details about the study at Gizmodo.