Jim Bradford of international analytical chemistry organization AOAC tells ScienceInsider that his group is organizing a meeting on 29 June in Gaithersburg, Maryland, to bring together scientists from state agriculture and chemistry labs, the fishing and seafood industry, and analytical chemistry equipment firms. It's part of a new initiative to develop faster ways of detecting polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in shrimp, mussels, and oysters. Tests to find such contaminants can take 7 to 10 days now, he says, but that will have to be cut dramatically if the government is to open closed areas by declaring seafood there safe to eat in the coming months, as both industry and government officials hope. (A NOAA lab says it can do it in 3 days.) Fisherfolk also hope to measure levels of PAHs in the seafood they were unable to sell so they can claim compensation from BP.
For more on the gulf oil spill, see our full coverage.