In a post last Summer, I mentioned that our state public health laboratory Environmental & Analytical Chemistry unit has been selected as 1 of 8 chemistry laboratories across the country that would be examining commercial seafood for contaminants from the gusher in the Gulf. The goal was to find out whether commercial seafood has been contaminated by the oil spill and, if so, to determine whether the levels pose a health risk.
We never actually received any samples for testing, and were recently told that no more re-opening samples will be collected through the Winter. Only a few fisheries are currently closed (in LA) and they expect to re-open these areas in Spring. There’s a chance we may be asked to participate in the reopening sample in the Spring and we could still do ongoing surveillance. We did get some new instruments along with training for our staff in Chemistry- so our quick reaction paid off last summer with increased capacity. It may have also been a factor in our successful application for the FERN funding I mentioned above.
It’s highly important to perform Gulf testing to ensure that the water is kept safe for such a diverse set of creatures.