Tar Ball on the beach
Some beaches in Northwest Florida will continue to see
isolated oil impacts that are influenced by natural tides and
varying weather conditions. These impacts will consist mainly of
scattered tar balls, but may also be buried oil that may become exposed
in the sand along the shoreline.
To Avoid Potential Health Impacts:
- Avoid swimming in or near visible oil or tar balls.
- Avoid touching tar balls that may wash ashore or touching areas of exposed buried oil within the sand.
- If you touch oil product or tar balls, wash the residue from your skin with grease-cutting dishwashing detergent
and water. Brief skin contact is not considered a medical emergency, but can result in skin irritation if not removed.
- It is always recommended to avoid contact with dead or dying fish or other ill-appearing aquatic life.
Based on analysis by the Florida Department of Health (DOH) the most recent data have indicated that swimming in the Gulf or
visiting the beach poses no risk to human health associated with oil spill contaminants. All sampling data conducted and analyzed
in Florida is compared to the DOH
screening levels adopted by the state of Florida. Human health screening levels
for chemicals of concern are set for either water or sediment below which there is no significant risk for long-term human health
effects. All data can be viewed on the
Beach Health Results website.
In addition, all sampling data collected through September 2010 that was conducted
and analyzed in Florida registered below levels of concern
according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA)
human health benchmarks. A human health benchmark is a chemical
concentration, specific to either water or sediment, above which
there is the possibility of harm or risk to the humans or
animals in the environment.
For more information, see
Sampling & Monitoring Data,
Beach Health Results website, the
federal health and safety information or the
Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services
(DACS) is responsible for testing seafood harvests from
the Gulf of Mexico to ensure they are safe to eat. Laboratory
testing shows that Florida
seafood products are safe and plentiful and
have not been affected by the oil spill.
Gulf Coast Fisherman with the catch of the day.
The DACS Division of Food Safety has
screened more than 200 seafood samples, including finfish,
shrimp, crabs, lobsters and oysters. Less than 11 percent were
found to have traces of possible oil contaminants such as
polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). All findings have been
less than 1/1000th of the FDA's levels of concern.
With $10 million in additional
funding over the next three years, the DACS Division of Food
Safety will enhance the capabilities of its laboratories to
conduct seafood inspections in an effort to further restore
public confidence in the safety of Gulf of Mexico seafood. With
this funding, routine testing for PAHs, dispersants and metals
will assure the safety of Florida's seafood for several years to
Seafood Surveillance Samples – information and data on
seafood samples collected and analyzed in Florida from the end
of August 2010 - February 14, 2011.
of Florida PAH Analyses for Surveillance Samples –
information and data on seafood samples collected and analyzed
in Florida August 2010.