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.
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Saturday, July 10, 2010

Seafood Menu: Oil-Basted Gulf Snapper Not Yet Available

What with some areas closed off to the seafood industry (one-third of the Gulf), samples obtained so far have failed to show contamination with oil.

I saw this  note from the Assoc Press (July 10), reporting results of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's testing results of over 400 seafood samples in the Gulf.

The main focus is testing for polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons.  I remember, kinda, what these are from college chemistry.  From a public health perspective, the problem isn't esthetic--although I imagine they do have a big impact on taste--it's that they are cancer-causing.

And while the NOAA is going to continue testing, it's worth pointing out that even after the spill has been capped...or stopped...or replaced, or whatever it is they figure out to's unknown how long these compounds will be floating around in the environment.

As we've seen with some other contaminants, it can take years for significant amounts of a toxic chemical to make it's way through the food chain... from primitive sea life, through shellfish, to the table.  And, it's actually easier to follow the progression of a simple compound (like mercury-containing ones). I'm not sure we've had much experience with very large chemicals like this...they tend to break down into various bits and pieces.  It gets complicated fairly quickly.

So, I expect we'll be testing and containing for a very long time.

Doc D

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