Panacea, Florida -July 31, 2012
A week after a former Florida attorney began holding meetings in Panacea, claiming the BP Oil Spill was making people sick, officials from various government agencies came to town disputing those claims.
Officials from the Florida Department of Agriculture, Environmental Protection Agency and the Wakulla Health Department spoke before a packed house Tuesday, July 31 at the Wakulla County Welcome Center. They assured people the water and fish in the Gulf were safe to work in and eat.
"The seafood in Florida is very safe. We have no reason to believe there is any problem with any seafood product," says Martin May of the Florida Department of Agriculture.
"We feel great today that these people brought this information out here. We're not going to die. We're fine. The tourist should come. Fishing is great. The weather is good. All is well," says Ronald Crum, local business owner.
Scientists tested more than 1800 samples of seafood for dispersant dioctylsufosuccinate (DOSS) and Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs). Less than 90 samples showed signs of the petroleum byproducts. But none with levels dangerous to humans.
Scientists plan to test about 3,000 samples of seafood by October 2013.