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Food

Assessing the Impact of the 2010 Gulf Oil Spill

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When the Gulf of Mexico oil spill began in 2010, the FDA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Marine Fisheries Service, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the U.S. Coast Guard, and the Gulf coast states took unprecedented steps to ensure that the seafood harvested from the Gulf was safe -- first by closing areas exposed to the oil and then by establishing a reopening protocol designed to ensure that seafood from any given area was safe from harmful oil and dispersant residues before the area reopened to harvest.

The following is information related to steps taken in assessing the impact of the oil spill and reopening harvest waters.

Surveillance Samples and Testing Methods 

Letters, Memos, and Fact Sheets

Maps and Images 

Reopening of Closed Waters Information by State


Surveillance Sample and Testing Methods 

DWH Comparison Levels of Select Metals at Mussel Watch Sites

DWH Phase III Surveillance Samples - Metals: October 12, 2010 to June 21, 2011 (PDF: 22KB)  - FDA tested samples of crab, oysters, and shrimp collected from harvest areas that had been closed due to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill and subsequently reopened, to determine if the seafood contained elevated levels of arsenic, cadmium, lead, or mercury. The observed levels were then compared to baseline levels from samples that were collected prior to the oil spill or from areas that were not directly impacted by the oil spill. FDA's testing showed that the levels of arsenic, cadmium, lead, and mercury were consistent with the background levels found in seafood not impacted by the oil spill and do not present a public health concern.

DWH Phase III Surveillance Samples - PAH/DOSS: October 12, 2010 to June 21, 2011 (PDF: 40KB)

FDA Memo on Completion of Surveillance Samples Collected June 15, 2010 to July 8, 2010 (PDF: 32KB)

PAH Results of Surveillance Samples Collected June 15, 2010 to July 8, 2010 (PDF: 23KB)

Background on Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) and Testing Methods

Background on Dioctyl Sodium Sulfosuccinate (DOSS) and Testing Methods

Letters, Memos, & Fact Sheets

Maps & Images

Page Last Updated: 08/07/2014
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