Is It Safe To Go Swimming In The Gulf Of Mexico?

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There have been some really disturbing health reports coming in from the Gulf region, and yet many public authorities have actually reopened beaches that were closed and are letting people go swimming in the Gulf of Mexico once again.  But is this safe?  On the American Dream blog we try to report the facts, but on this question we don’t know what all the facts are.  Perhaps some of those living along the Gulf coast can let us know exactly what is happening down there.  The reality is that there have been a lot of people claiming that they have become seriously ill in recent days.  But could these people just be imagining things?  Are the health dangers being overblown at this point?  Or could the health effects of this oil spill be far worse than authorities are letting on as has happened during so many other disasters in the past?


These are some very important questions.

Certainly the fact that so many people are seeking medical assistance has got to be a major concern.

According to one local Pensacola news source,  400 people have sought medical care for upper or lower respiratory problems, headaches, nausea, and eye irritation after trips to Escambia County beaches.”

But in spite of that, the Escambia County Health Department has lifted a health advisory on Pensacola Beach.  This was against the advice of a federal environmental official.

Even Florida Governor Charlie Crist is insisting that it is safe to go back into the water.  In the video posted below, you will see him telling CBS News the following about the oil in the Gulf….

“It is much more of a nuisance than anything else at this point.”

A nuisance?

Is he serious?

Apparently he is.

Meanwhile, a large number of workers cleaning up the BP oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico are reporting suffering from flu-like symptoms.

A couple of our readers who live in the region are also reporting health problems associated with the oil spill….


I have been sick last week with Nausea and headaches my co workers have had similar systems and we live in Jacksonville Florida


I live in Gretna, La just a little past the Huey P Long bridge. I have had headaches for several days now. I am also having trouble breathing like i am having a asthma episode. I don’t even have asthma. If it gets any worse i am going to the hospital.

All i can say is someone needs to look into this seriously, The air smells like burning crayons (that is the best way to explain it). It has smelled like this for several days now.

If anyone else has reports such as these we would love to hear them.

The truth is that it is not just the oil that we need to be worried about.

The “oil volcano” that BP has unleashed on the bottom of the Gulf is also sending massive amounts of methane into the Gulf of Mexico.  In fact, Texas A&M University oceanography professor John Kessler says that methane gas levels in some areas of the Gulf of Mexico are “astonishingly high”.  Some scientists have gone so far as to warn that all of this methane could potentially create “dead zones” in the Gulf of Mexico where oxygen is so depleted that literally nothing lives under the water.

In addition, huge amounts of hydrogen sulfide and benzene are also being released into the Gulf as we noted in a previous article….

Hydrogen sulfide is a chemical asphyxiant, similar to carbon monoxide and cyanide gases.  It causes “biochemical suffocation” by inhibiting cellular respiration and the uptake of oxygen.  Benzene is a highly carcinogenic gasthat can cause death if inhaled at high enough concentrations.  Not only that, benzene has been shown to cause leukemia in all its forms.  High levels of both gases have been detected at testing stations in the Gulf of Mexico.

If all of that we not bad enough, the dispersants that BP has been using to break up all the oil are also highly toxic to humans.  In fact, Corexit 9500 is so incredibly toxic that the UK’s Marine Management Organization has completely banned it, so if there was a major oil spill in the North Sea, BP would not be able to use it.

And yet BP has dumped over a million gallons of dispersants such as Corexit 9500 into the Gulf of Mexico.

So are there legitimate health concerns about this oil spill?

Yes, there are.

The truth is that we need some honest answers, but so far BP and the U.S. government have not been very forthcoming.

Hopefully things will become much clearer for all of us in the days ahead.

Austin Coins


  • Greg

    The dichotomies are amazing. We put poison in our drinking water and call it “better”. We have a rupture in the ocean that (accidentally?) releases millions of gallons of toxic oil and add a more toxic substance to make it “better”.

    There was a time when a person who questioned the things that were happening as potentially being planned was called crazy. It now seems that a person who does not question whether the ongoing disasters are planned should be called crazy.

  • dawn thornton

    I have been in Walton County Florida, just two counties over from Pensacola beach area. There have been complaints of surfers getting blisters on their balls after opening their eyes in the water while surfing. Many bull sharks are very close to the shoreline.

  • Mary

    This is BS. I live in Walton County and there is nothing like what Dawn is mentioning. As a matter of fact our beaches are clear and it’s gorgeous here.

    I have been no more than a mile from the shoreline for the entire length of this disaster and no one I know has been ill from the spill. I know county officials, medical personal, beach workers and none have heard of any of medical complaints in the county that were actually related to anything oil spill related. I even know workers offshore who dive into those waters, around 50 miles from the main spill site- which isn’t pretty… but they are all in perfect health. Stop spreading rumors and start spreading TRUTH.

  • Holly

    Mary, the “truth” is that the oil in the water IS toxic! The sea creatures (sharks, dolphins, fish of all types)are very close to shore trying their best to survive. I understand that you may have a business that needs tourist dollars, but the truth is that things are dying on Walton County beaches because of the BP disaster. I live on a Walton County beach and things I see there are very disturbing! And so far, we are lucky compared to Pensacola, out neighbor! If our government doesn’t start acting like they should, and start allowing foreign help, we are in a ton of trouble! And that is the TRUTH!

  • Holly! I can’t agree more with your statement. There are documented cases of people getting sick… (Mary) your water may be beautiful and appear clean but even USF researchers have noted concentrations of chemicals and oil present in water that can not be seen by the naked eye. I think you are in denial Mary, you don’t think all those chemicals and VOC’s travel with the current… if it is in Pensacola I doubt your water is clean, even if it appears that way…. 85 million gallons of oil, almost 2 million gallon of Corexit, and unknown amounts of VOC’s and arsnic…. you are a FOOL if you get in that water! I am in the Tampa area and won’t even get in the gulf!!!

  • john

    I was in PCB, Fl and went swimming in the bay area, I have a .925 silver wedding band and it happened to turn a dark brown color and wouldn’t rub off very easy. This happened on the inner side of shell island. I have tried doing some research to see if that is a common thing and can’t seem to find anything. This was after swimming for about an hour.
    If this is related to our little problem then I think it would be sane to say, “the waters are not safe”.

  • Kimberly

    There are billions of gallons of corexit 9500 in the gulf and it is being picked up in the clouds and coming down in rain.I live in Maryland and it is raining oil up here.I am not a fear monger but have ruined our country I know when the vegetation is dyeing.The President of the u.s.a. said at one of his summits that millions of Americans are going to die because of this disaster.We have no news because of the media blackout it makes you wonder what they are really doing down there.I don,t trust them and they ruined our country NOW IT IS TIME TO TAKE AMERICA BACK LET,S DO IT

  • congressive

    Nothing ever changes until profits disappear and somebody important dies – not poor people, important people. This has always been the sick story of America.