Fast Company

Children Frolic on Oily Florida Beaches, Time to End BP-Financed Tourism Ads [Video]

Want to bravely defy the BP oil disaster and spend a sunny day on the beach? Think again--at least if you're in Destin, Florida, where thousands of tar balls washed up on the beach this week. As recently as Monday, local beaches were completely clean.

In the video below, a child on Destin Beach gets oil stuck to the bottom of her feet. The mother is, apparently, prepared with a container of Goo Gone. Such is the reality of going to the beach post-oil disaster: suncreen, sunglasses, and tar ball remover are all necessities. Perhaps it's time for Florida to get rid of all those ads claiming that its beaches are safe.

Read more about the Gulf Oil Spill

Got information on the spill you want to share? Email us at oil@fastcompany.com. It'll go directly to the lead reporter and editor on these stories, and they'll assume all initial communication to be strictly confidential.

Ariel Schwartz can be reached on Twitter or by email.

Add New Comment

27 Comments

  • ceecee

    Just because Panama City, Fort Myers and Naples have no tar balls or other easily identifiable signs of oil deposits does not mean the waters or beaches are not affected by the BP Oil Spill. What you can't see can hurt you.

  • Bob Jacobson

    I lived through the Santa Barbara oil spill, a smaller event than Deepwater Horizon. It took years for the ecological effects of the oil to be banished from the pristine offshore wildlife preserves. Contrary to other commenters, there was nothing fun about getting oil on feet, swim fins, scuba gear, cars, pets, beach gear, and carpets at home. How exactly does one protect oneself from oil and associated volatile chemicals? In auto shop, we learned to wear protective clothing and to clean ourselves and our tools carefully at the end of each session. This is a whole lot more random. I would bet my britches their will be physical effects. Those poor people. I wish them well with every lawsuit they file against BP and the governments -- Federal and state -- that failed to protect them.

  • Michael Nicolson

    Michael Nicolson
    Growing up in Fort Lauderdale during the 60's and 70's, globs of oil, or tar as we called it, were a common occurrence on the beaches. There was enough that there was always plastic jugs of mineral spirits tied to a post by the showers and you'd have to clean the blackish-brown spots off your feet every time you'd leave the beach. I found out much later that this was from oil tankers cleaning out their storage tanks once they'd left port. I don't know how toxic it was but there wasn't any physical effects and we certainly didn't stop going to the beach because of it.

    Come on Fast Company, don't be slow. People are going to have to live with this for the indefinite future. Instead of scaring everybody away from the beaches, maybe the innovative thing to do would be teach people how to protect themselves from the oil much in the same way they've learned to protect themselves from the sun.

  • Josh Street

    Does the editor even read this stuff? I live in Panama City Beach...right now there is NO oil on anything. In the water or on the beach. The most we have seen is a handful of tar ball that were ALL gone in less than 3 hours. What oil has washed up on neighboring beaches is cleaned up within a few hours. Goo Gone on people, seriously??? This is what is wrong with journalism... Perhaps it is time for Fast Company to get rid of all these article claiming the beaches aren't safe!

  • Michelle Musso

    I so agree with the the guy who did the video, that beach should be closed.To all the condo and home owners who rent out their places shame on you for not letting people cancel. The only way to get your money back is if the beach is offically closed to bad if it is a health hazard and their are signs posted don't swim. NO REFUNDS! Hope you feel real good about yourself years from now and these people have cancer from who knows what from this mess.Thanks for thinking of the visitors!

  • Gary Alton

    I don't usually bother to register to comment on things like this, but I feel I must in this case. Harsh chemicals and strong detergents are not required to remove tar and oil from skin, and should not be used. There are a number of safe, ordinary materials that actually work better. Any kind of cooking oil, for example. For convenience, spray PAM works great. Another fairly innocuous one is WD 40. Incidentally, all these things also work great to remove tar, asphalt, etc. from cars or anything else, without harming the paint. For beach use, take wipes to remove the residues of cooking oil, etc., from the skin.

  • Mitch Graves

    IT IS GOJO
    IT IS NOT "GOO GONE"

    There is a HUGE difference.

    GOO GONE would be very bad to put on kids.
    GOJO is for use on humans.

  • Ariel Schwartz

    Take a look--the woman in the first video is indeed using Goo Gone. The second video is entirely separate.

  • Morgan Warstler

    Wait a friggin minute, some reality here.

    Every summer of my entire childhood was spent in West Palm Beach. At every beach access gate, next to the rinse shower was a bottle of Clorox to get tar off your feet.

    Sure, clean it up, crush BP in court, but let's not rewrite history.

  • Tyler Gray

    Yeah, I'm with you on one count, Morgan. I remember coming from surfing at New Smyrna Beach (central), and there was always a hose to rinse your feet off and a little wooden mounted box with a container of turpentine for tar. That said, did you ever see it in the volume and consistency shown in this video? I didn't. We just put up a new post on some of the health realities associated with this, by the way. http://www.fastcompany.com/166...

  • ann T

    Uh....Nothing new: reminds me of Galveston beaches in the late 1950s. Our family kept a can of lighter fluid in the car to clean the tar off our feet before going home.

  • Gary Deacon

    Look at the Video - GoJo is quite different than Googone Should be safe? People love to yell fire !!

  • wardoc

    What a shame all of the sleeze ball realtors and condo owners are putting out ads and lying to the gullible billybobs to get them to bring themselves and their children to frolic in the oily water; after all, the sleeze ball realtors and condo owners don't give a damn, they just want their MONEY!!! So what if kids are exposed to toxins like benzene, hydrogen sulfide, methane, methylene chloride. So What???

  • Mary

    I have been told that Googone is a terrible choice for removing tar from a child's body. There are strong toxins in Googone that are harmful if absorbed into the skin.

    We lived near the beach in California and it was very common for tar to wash up on the sand. We all learned to use Blue Dawn instead. It's cheaper and safer. Dawn is what they use on the birds, etc.

    I love Googone, but don't use it on anyone's skin.

  • Conundrum404

    It seems like someone is in denial of the disaster, just like so many folks living on the Gulf Coast in Louisiana. But the Gulf Stream has picked up oil and it is starting to travel around the keys and up the Eastern Seaboard. Oil was spotted 100 miles off the northern coast of Cuba a week ago. This may be a slow moving disaster for the outlying areas, but make no mistake: this is a NATIONAL disaster, and it will remain a disaster for a long time to come. It is tragic, but at least some folks in Florida have time to make a plan to get away while they still can. Some day you'll thank the people who are giving you the "bad news", even if it isn't today.

  • chloe davis

    destin beaches were CLEAN father's day. this story is NOT TRUE and i have pictures to prove it.