nos-trum. pronunciation: \nos'-trum\. noun. Etymology: Latin, neuter of noster our, ours.
1. a medicine of secret composition recommended by its preparer but usually without scientific proof of its effectiveness.
2. a usually questionable remedy or scheme.
See here for more discussion.

Monday, June 7, 2010

A Little Sanity About Oil Spills And Exposure To Tar Balls

The media is giving full reign to Talking Heads about the toxicity of breathing oil fumes or getting tar on the skin.

When I was a kid we went to the beach in Galveston regularly.  Oil tankers leaving the Houston ship channel would wash out their tanks by flushing them with sea water.  The beaches were covered with tar for years--until it became illegal.

Every time we went to the beach we would get it on our skin.  It wouldn't just rinse off, you had to wash it off.  I never heard of anybody being allergic or getting toxic.  I suppose if you ate it you would get sick.

[In medicine we use coal tar and pine tar (also hydrocarbons) in shampoos and antiseptics, for psoriasis and head lice, among other things.]

Once the tankers were prohibited from flushing their tanks, the tar disappeared in a year or two.

It's not the same as a wave of oil, but I suspect that will disappear, too.  The exaggerations about it taking "decades" to resolve are just silly.

Doc D

No comments:

Post a Comment


What I'm Reading - Updated 3 May

Blog Archive