Wathen has produced perhaps the most compelling evidence of damage from the BP spill in the form of aerial videos that can be seen here and here. His latest video was shot on July 19, and after a five-hour trip to the spill's Ground Zero and back, the airplane was largely covered with an orange, oil sheen.
Wathen discusses e-mails from several residents of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, which is about 300 miles from the coast, who say they recently were caught in a rainstorm and wound up with burning skin, vomiting, headaches, diarrhea, and other symptoms. One correspondent tested the rain water and found it to have high levels of acidity.
What do these reports mean? Wathen is quick to say that he is not a scientist and is not qualified to make a determination. But he does raise alarming questions about the BP spill and its possible effects on air quality:
It seems to me that if it's thick enough to accumulate on an aircraft, it's thick enough to be evaporated into the clouds and rain back down in other parts of the country. We need scientific exploration into this. We need to know if, in fact, the acid rain that was measured in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, came from the Gulf of Mexico and what we can expect from long-term implications to our health.
You can check out the latest Wathen video below: