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Dispersant Levels In Gulf Seafood Not Dangerous For Human Health, Says FDA

November 17, 2017

After testing thousands of samples of Gulf seafood and fish for the presence of contaminants, specifically dioctyl sodium sulfosuccinate, the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) and the NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) announce they are safe for human consumption and do not pose a health threat. In other words, US authorities say that the chemicals used to clear up oil from the BP spill have not been identified in hazardous levels in seafood, including oysters, fish, crabs and shrimps. The FDA informs that trace amounts of the dispersant chemicals are common, but all well within previously set safety levels.

In one of the extensive tests, trace amounts of dioctyl sodium sulfosuccinate (DOSS) dispersant residue were found in 13 of 1,735 samples. In all thirteen cases levels were well below 100 parts per million for finfish and 500 parts per million for oysters, crabs and shrimps, the FDA confirmed.

The FDA points out that trace amounts of DOSS are allowed in OTC (over-the-counter) medications as well as several household products.

FDA scientist say that according to their research, DOSS does not accumulate in fish tissues.

Jane Lubchenco, Ph.D., Under Secretary for Commerce and NOAA Administrator, said:

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. This test adds another layer of information, reinforcing our findings to date that seafood from the Gulf remains safe.

Margaret A. Hamburg, M.D., FDA Commissioner, said:

This new test should help strengthen consumer confidence in Gulf seafood. 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.

The FDA says the 1,735 samples were collected over a very wide area of the Gulf, between the months of June and September, 2010. An extensive range of species were tested, including oysters, crabs, shrimp, croaker, red drum, butterfish, gray snapper, swordfish, tuna and wahoo.

Approximately 4% of Gulf federal waters still have a commercial or recreational fishing ban in place.

"Deepwater Horizon/BP Oil Spill: Federal Fisheries Closure and Other Information"
NOAA Fisheries Service