(Archived Nov 5, 2005)
Truth and Corporate Myth$ -
Dr. Riki Ott, a marine biologist from Cordova, Alaska, has wrapped 15 years of analysis and observation of the Exxon Valdez oil spill and its aftermath into a treatise on the lessons of the nation's worst oil spill.
Ott has researched the stories of clean-up workers who suffered from exposure to oil mists and other toxins during the spill cleanup between 1989 and 1991, as well as the efforts of scientists of all stripe to understand the effects of the nation's largest an d worst spill on wildlife, fish and their habitat and Exxon's attempts to put an "all's well" spin on spill information. The result is what she calls a new paradigm of oil toxicity that holds oil to be far more dangerous to human health - and to the environment - than previously thought.
The traditional scientific view of oil spills is that the most significant effects of an oil spill are short term because oil's toxic components break down when released into the atmosphere. Based on review and analysis of Exxon Valdez spill literature, Ott argues that petroleum's policyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) have long-term toxic effects on fish and wildlife, that subsurface oil retains toxicity and is not environmentally benign, that oil can be both persistent and bioavailable and that these new understandings have important and disturbing implications for human health.
After taking the reader through more than 400 pages of oil spill history and research, Ott writes: "raking through the muck of Exxon's indiscretions after the Exxon Valdez oil spill, I found the amoral, predatory behavior described by Ida Tarbell still applies to Exxon's behavior today. I can only write of it; whether the public and politicians judge this behavior to be as unacceptable today as it was so judged one hundred years earlier will be up to the collective mind and heart of our nation."
Ott self-published her voluminous manuscript and has embarked on a national speaking tour that is taking her to bookstores and university campuses in at least 20 states.
You can find out where she is speaking at Sound Truth and Corporate Myth$: The Legacy of the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill. The book can be ordered at the same site.
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