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July 28th, 2010
12:58 PM ET

Report tallies oil disaster's effect on beaches

The Gulf oil disaster has already caused at least 2,239 days of beach closing, advisories, and notices in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida, according to a report released today by the Natural Resources Defense Council.

One-fifth of monitored beaches in the Gulf have been subject to closure or advisories because of the spill, the non-profit environmental group reported.

Among the affected beaches: Alabama’s Gulf Shores Public Beach, ranked by the NRDC as one of the nation’s 200 cleanest beaches in 2009 but closed at least 53 days this year because of the spill,

“We recommend beach goers avoid all beaches where oil can be seen or smelled,” said David Beckman, director of the water program at the NRDC and co-author of the report, “Testing the Waters 2010.”

Breathing in oil vapors or oily sea spray can cause headaches, dizziness, nausea, skin rashes and eye irritation, Beckman said. Children, pregnant women and people with asthma and other respiratory conditions should take special care to avoid polluted areas, he said.

In Mississippi, 16 of 20 regularly tested beach segments were closed for 430 days through Tuesday, according to the report. Some large beaches are broken down into segments.  In Mississippi, for example, Pass Christian East Beach, Central Beach and West Beach are tested separately. Each is considered a beach segment.

Spill-related closures and advisories have affected 6 of 25 beach segments in Louisiana, starting with Fourchon Beach in LaFourche Parish on May 7;  11 of 28 in Alabama, beginning June 1; and 16 of 180 in western Florida, starting June 8.

None of the Florida or Alabama beaches were closed for any reason last year, the report said.

Even before the spill, Louisiana ranked dead last among states for water quality at beaches, followed by Rhode Island and Illinois, according to the report. New Hampshire, Delaware and Oregon had the best water quality at their beaches, the report said.


soundoff (9 Responses)
  1. Dereck Daschke

    Not knowing the difference between "affect" and "effect" undermines your reporting.

    July 28, 2010 at 14:06 | Report abuse | Reply
    • TomPA

      Dereck- Actually, though those words are often used incorrectly, they got it exactly right here. Essentially, some beaches have been adversely affected because the oil has had detrimental effects on them. "Affect" is the verb, and "effect" is the noun.

      July 28, 2010 at 16:45 | Report abuse |
    • Daniel

      It takes someone really stupid to correct another person incorrectly.

      July 28, 2010 at 19:20 | Report abuse |
  2. ceg3

    I've been going to my condo in Orange Beach most weekends since May. it's as beautiful as ever and finding oil peas on the beach is like looking for 4 leaf clovers. They are there but you have to hunt. Now that the media has devasted the economy there, I can't wait to buy another unit when some are forced to sell units they can't rent. BTW: the cleanup on my section is a joke. Workers standing around at $18/hr taking mandatory breaks every 15 minutes. If I didn't know better I'd think they were federal employees.

    July 28, 2010 at 15:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. ekb

    ceg3 – they have to take the breaks. It's ridiculous, I know but it's part of the "heat stress safety" regulations that are in place down there. How do I know? I worked the entire month of June as a shore line surveyor and we had to follow the same rules.

    July 28, 2010 at 17:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. wpi

    Can't be federal employees. The EPA and Coast Guard folks I know that were deployed there worked very long hours and only oversaw the cleanup. They also make more than $18/hour and are usually salaried employees. I bet that they were contractors and their breaks were manadatory by OSHA because of the heat.

    July 29, 2010 at 15:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Bill A

    I strongly feel that BP should be able to sue to recover from the press, particularly the Weather Channel, some of the money it had to pay for the effect of the spill on tourism. From the first day they hace 'disasterized' this issue for their own advantage. The effects on the beaches, from what I have seen, has not been anywhere near as bad as they have led potential visitors to believe. Of course this is typical of Ameican overreaction to any event.

    July 29, 2010 at 19:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Harvey L. Logan

    I just heard Anderson Cooper say is the oil spill really as bad as we have been led to believe. CNN has been doing almost all of the leading. I have heard almost nothing except what a disaster, what a tradegy, what an outrage....all from CNN. Harvey

    July 29, 2010 at 22:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. retired UNITED STATES MARINE

    just because you dont see the oil doesnt mean there isnt oil/dispersant chemicals in the water. in chicago they close the beaches when the fecal matter reaches a certain level- for the safety of the public. some days they just post warnings because the levels arent "too" high. frankly, id rather avoid such places if there is any measurable amount.

    July 30, 2010 at 12:20 | Report abuse | Reply

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