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Tar balls found onshore in Key West not linked to BP oil spill

There was some relief among environmentalists today when tests revealed that tar balls found onshore in Key West, Florida, are not linked to the BP oil spill disaster. This blog reported yesterday that the tar balls had washed ashore and sparked fears the massive oil leak had entered the strong loop current, which has the potential to carry the oil to the fragile Florida Keys, around the coast and up the Eastern shoreline into the Atlantic Ocean. According to a report on, scientists tested tar balls found on beaches at Fort Zachary State Park and Smathers Beach in Key ... Read More

Senators seek criminal investigation of BP, insiders come forward

BP and Transocean have begun the legal maneuvering that they hope will minimize their exposure to mounting lawsuits and limit their liability for the uncapped oil leak that continues to release thousands of barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico every day. But there are some promising signs that those who created the spill are finding few rocks to hind under. Yesterday, eight Senate Democrats asked the Obama administration to launch a criminal investigation into BP for allegedly making false and misleading statements to federal regulators about its ability to stop potentially devastating oil spills in the Gulf of ... Read More

Oil spill puts endangered Gulf species at risk

The oil spill has doubled in size and now covers 19 percent of the Gulf of Mexico, according to the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration. And the deadly effects have already been seen in animals recovered from the spill. To date, 23 dead birds and 156 dead sea turtles have been recovered from the ocean, and 35 live birds coated in oil have been saved. “It’s important to note that the visibly oiled birds are a small part” of what the oil spill is doing to wildlife, Rowan W. Gould, acting director of the Fish and Wildlife Service, told the New ... Read More

FDA lifts temporary ban on rotavirus vaccine

After a careful evaluation, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has lifted a warning it placed on Rotarix, a vaccine used to prevent rotavirus disease. The warning was first issued in March 2010, which instructed doctors and parents not to give patients Rotarix until the agency could learn more about the presence of an extraneous virus in the vaccine, DNA from porcine circovirus type 1 (PCV1). The FDA based its decision to lift the ban on Rotarix and to continue the use of RotaTeq, another vaccine for rotavirus disease, on careful evaluation of laboratory results from the manufacturers and its ... Read More

Birth control pills, long plane flights increase risk of blood clots

Irina Shiryaeva was ecstatic when her family won the “green card lottery,” earning them sought-after immigration papers allowing them to leave their hometown in Russia and move to the United States. But her dream was cut short when she died shortly after arriving in the United States. Irina suffered from a pulmonary embolism, a blood clot in her lungs. Doctors theorized it was the long, nine-hour plane ride coupled with her recent use of birth control pills. Blood clots are one of the most common causes of death in the United States, second only to cancer. Despite their prevalence, only ... Read More

Generic Reglan makers released from Tardive Dyskinesia lawsuit

Wyeth, Inc. and Schwarz Pharma Inc. have been dismissed from a lawsuit filed in Texas involving the drug company’s Reglan (metoclopramide), a medicine used to treat gastrointestinal conditions. The lawsuit alleged that the drug caused the plaintiff to develop a severe movement disorder known as Tardive Dyskinesia. However, the case will proceed against Activis-Elizabeth, L.L.C., makers of a generic version of metoclopramide that the plaintiff was taking. Wyeth and Schwarz originally developed the brand-name metoclopramide, Reglan. They were released from litigation by U.S. District Judge Marcia A. Crone. The case is expected to be ready for trial by January 2011. ... Read More

Shelby seeks fisheries disaster declaration for Alabama

Federal officials are expanding zones in the Gulf of Mexico that are off-limits to fishing because of the widening oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, and Senator Richard Shelby (R-Alabama) is asking the federal government to declare a commercial fishing disaster in his state. “Alabama’s fishing industry represents one of the largest economic engines in the state – accounting for more than $800 million in sales and nearly 18,000 jobs,” Shelby wrote in a letter to Commerce Secretary Gary Locke, whose department is responsible for overseeing U.S. fisheries. “A federal fisheries disaster declaration will provide immediate federal assistance to ... Read More

Latest reports indicate 19 percent of Gulf closed to fishing

The latest reports from NOAA (the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) indicate that about 19 percent of the Gulf of Mexico is now closed to commercial and recreational fishing as a result of the BP oil spill. The report, released by NOAA administrator Jane Lubchenco on Tuesday during the second day of Senate hearings into the disaster, says fishing is shut down in an area covering 45,728 square miles. The spill is a result of an explosion on the Transocean-owned and BP-leased Deepwater Horizon oil drilling platform on April 20, and its subsequent sinking two days later. Since that time, ... Read More

Witness tells CBS BP ignored blowout risks and dangers

While BP was wrapping up its drilling operations miles beneath the Deepwater Horizon, a simple thought as to how much lies at stake for the environment could have prevented the oil spill catastrophe. But rather than think in terms of environmental protections or even worker safety, BP thought only about money and how to save it when it made its disastrous decisions on how to plug the drill column 45 miles off the Louisiana coast. To complete the well, BP hired Halliburton to insert 3 concrete plugs in the pipe that stretched 3 miles under the seabed. A Transocean manager ... Read More

Worried eyes on coastline as oil threatens to enter loop current

Fears that oil spewing from the damaged drilling site in the Gulf Coast will affect the eastern shoreline were intensified yesterday, when 20 tar balls washed ashore in Key West. Scientists are studying the tar to determine if it came from the BP oil spill site, which has been leaking massive amounts of crude since April 20. Those watching the situation have been dismayed as multiple efforts to stop the leak have failed, and worry that the oil will enter what is known as the loop current, carrying the oil farther afield, to the fragile Florida Keys and up the ... Read More