“Our heads are still swimming,” stated Barbara Schebler of Homosassa, Florida, who received word last Friday that test results on the water from her family’s swimming pool showed 50.3 ppm of 2-butoxyethanol, a marker for the dispersant Corexit 9527A used to break up and sink BP’s oil in the Gulf of Mexico.
The problems began for the Scheblers a few weeks after the April 20 blow-out. “Our first clue were rashes we both got early in May. Both my husband and I couldn’t get rid of the rashes and had to get cream from our doctor,” Schebler noted, “I never had a rash in my life.”
Then, on “July , my husband Warren mowed the lawn. It was hot so he got in the pool to cool off afterward. That afternoon he had severe diarrhea and very dark urine. This lasted about 2 days,” she revealed.
View Larger Map
Initially, they reasoned this was caused by the heat. The following week Mr. Schebler again mowed the lawn and went in the pool, and again he was sickened with the same severe symptoms.
Suspicious that the pool may be a problem, the family set out to get the water tested. “We have a 15 year old and felt we owed it to him to live in a clean, healthy environment,” said Mrs. Schebler.
“Warren collected a water sample from the pool filter on August 17th… packed the sample according to Mr. Naman’s instructions, and overnighted it to his Mobile, Ala. lab that same day,” she noted.
The results were delivered by Naman over the phone on August 27 at 11:00 a.m. EDT. A copy of the findings were then e-mailed to the Scheblers. To view the document, click here.
“Naman [said] our pool water sample we sent him contained 50.3 ppm [parts per million] 2-butoxyethanol marker for Corexit,” according to Mrs. Schebler. Tests for arsenic came back at less than .02 ppm.
A July letter from four top scientists noted, “Corexit 9527A contains 2-BTE (2-butoxyethanol), a toxic solvent that ruptures red blood cells, causing hemolysis (bleeding) and liver and kidney damage (Johanson and Bowman, 1991, Nalco, 2010).”
The safety data sheet provided by Nalco, the manufacturer of Corexit 9527A, warns, “Harmful if absorbed through skin. May be harmful if swallowed. May cause liver and kidney effects and/or damage. There may be irritation to the gastro-intestinal tract.”
Mr. Schebler’s “severe diarrhea and very dark urine” appear to indicate gastro-intestinal tract irritation.
BP Press Officer Daren Beaudo released a statement on August 28 that reads, “Unified Command records indicate that the last date of use of the Corexit 9527 was May 22,” almost three months before the samples were taken from the pool.
Yet, the Schebler’s report is the second time in the last 10 days that the 2-butoxyethanol marker for Corexit 9527A has been discovered near the Gulf. It has also been found near the Florida border in Cotton Bayou, AL, at about 1/4 the level as in Homosassa, FL. A WKRG segment from August 19 featured an inland water sample that tested for 13.3 ppm of the Corexit dispersant.
The question remains, how did this chemical find its way into the Schebler’s pool in such a high concentration?
“At night we would hear very low aircraft, including helicopters. We figured they were just heading to help out in the Gulf,” and Mrs. Schebler added that she was told, “The prevailing winds from the Gulf are easterly — and when they spray, it is airborne — and that we are right in the path of those winds.” It was also noted that, “We had alot of rain here before my husband got sick, and wondered what was going on… We had been having daily downpours in July.”
There is no way to be sure at this point. Though she stated, “Friends a few miles away… are having [a] similar situation. They are now thinking of getting their water tested.”
As for the family’s current physical well being, “We both still have rashes that will not go away if we stop the cream we were given by our doctor. Warren still gets diarrhea on and off – this never happened with this frequency before.”
But the trauma is not only physical. Here are the answers of the Scheblers when asked about the current situation at their home and in their area:
“We spoke to a number of mothers and fathers last evening [August 27]. Most have not even heard of Corexit. … But for the most part, parents with small children were concerned.”
“Some of the neighbors we spoke to were more worried about home values than pollution.”
“We are hoping for someone to come and do more samplings, we were told we shouldn’t eat anything from outside as it probably will all be tainted. It seems that we are the first to check on this, we’re sure all our neighbors on this coast will have the same outcome.”
“We are lost. We would like more testing. We’ve reached out to a few people we thought could tell us where we go from here, but haven’t as of yet received any direction. We are not completely able to grasp what this means.”
“We feel it is a horrible environment to live in and frankly, would like to leave the area. We believe that if this substance is in our pool, it could very well be in the air, especially because of the rashes we continue to apply medication to. We’re not sure if this will enter the groundwater, or even already has. We feel other people need to know that if it’s in our backyard, it is most definitely in other backyards.”
“Where we go from here, we do not know.”
Additional responses shared by the Scheblers:
Additional information on dispersant use:
Toxicologist discusses dispersants being sprayed on land:
Taking a Closer Look at the Stories Ignored by the Mainstream Media