UPDATED: June 26, 2010 – Last May 24, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson promised, “We will conduct our own tests to determine the least toxic, most effective dispersant available in the volumes necessary for a crisis of this magnitude… I am not satisfied that BP has done an extensive enough analysis of other dispersant options.”
As of today, those tests have not been completed, according to the EPA. In the meantime, BP has dumped 1.4 million gallons of Corexit on the gulf. Next week, we could have a hurricane pushing Corexit inland.
—ORIGINAL POST: June 10, 2010————
Just when you thought the damages BP could cause was limited to beaches, marshes, oceans, people’s livelihoods, birds and marine life, there’s more.
BP’s favorite dispersant Corexit 9500 is being sprayed at the oil gusher on the ocean floor. Corexit is also being air sprayed across hundreds of miles of oil slicks all across the gulf. There have been widespread reports of oil cleanup crews reporting various injuries including respiratory distress, dizziness and headaches.
Corexit 9500 is a solvent originally developed by Exxon and now manufactured by the Nalco of Naperville, Illinois (who by the way just hired some expensive lobbyists). Corexit is is four times more toxic than oil (oil is toxic at 11 ppm (parts per million), Corexit 9500 at only 2.61ppm).
In a report written by Anita George-Ares and James R. Clark for Exxon Biomedical Sciences, Inc. titled “Acute Aquatic Toxicity of Three Corexit Products: An Overview” Corexit 9500 was found to be one of the most toxic dispersal agents ever developed.
COREXIT, SALT WATER AND OIL DO NOT MIX WELL TOGETHER
According to the Clark and George-Ares report, Corexit mixed with the higher gulf coast water temperatures becomes even more toxic.
The UK’s Marine Management Organization has banned Corexit so if there was a spill in the UK’s North Sea, BP is banned from using Corexit. In fact Corexit products currently being used in the Gulf were removed from a list of approved treatments for oil spills in the U.K. more than a decade ago. The Environmental Advisory Service for Oil and Chemical Spills at IVL, Swedish Environmental Institute, has, upon request of the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency evaluated Corexit extensively and recommended it not be used in Swedish waters.
The Swedish study concludes: “The studies suggest that a mixture of oil and dispersant give rise to a more toxic effect on aquatic organisms than oil and dispersants do alone… The research on toxicity of oils mixed with dispersants has, however, shown high toxicity values even when the dispersant per se was not very toxic.” A report for the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation Division of Spill Prevention and Response concluded that Corexit actually inhibits bacterial degradation of crude oil. It may look good on the surface but it will take longer for natural bacteria to eat up the crude oil.
Many of the region’s important organisms, such as blue fin tuna and shrimp, use the wetlands at some point in their lifetime. Adult tuna breed during the late spring and early summer. Their eggs then float to shore and the larvae grow in the wetlands, protected from predators. Any decent chemist will tell you that surfactants, which are the primary ingredient in Corexit destroy cell membranes — including larval membranes of larval tuna eggs, shrimp and any other marine life trying to develop.
BP with the EPA’s approval continues to pour Corexit into the gulf with no science to estimate the harm the gusher’s load of dispersed oil will cause the water column, because they lack sufficient and fundamental data on how dispersants affect the oil, what creatures live in deepwater ecosystems, how laboratory flask toxicity tests translate to actual conditions in the ocean, and how oil and Corexit affects organisms over time.
The real problem is not the dispersants themselves but what the chemicals do to the oil. By itself, oil is more toxic than dispersants alone, but together oil and Corexit is toxic. I can only assume the EPA approved Corexit because they thought diluting the dispersed oil and Corexit will mitigate its increased toxicity.
EPA’s crap shoot is that more toxic but significantly diluted dispersed oil/Corexit crap floating is better than concentrated oil slicks washing ashore. From my point of view, it’s a lazy, easy and irresponsible approach. Note Sweden does not even allow dispersants. In case of a spill in Swedish waters, only mechanical extraction and vacuum is allowed.
Lab toxicology tests (flask tests) that are the whole foundation of Corexit’s approval neglect one variable that organisms encounter out on the ocean’s surface – sunlight. Transparent organisms such as planktons and crustaceans called copepods react to ultraviolet light from the sun. The reaction promotes photochemical degradation of aromatic compounds from oil that the creatures have absorbed or swallowed. The degradation results in oxidized molecules that are more toxic than the original oil compounds.
In tests to observe this photo-enhanced toxicity, aquatic toxicologist Carys L. Mitchelmore of the University of Maryland’s Center for Environmental Science said researchers have found that the toxicity under natural light can be up to 50,000 times greater than the toxicity seen in a lab. Neglecting real-world conditions, laboratory experiments could underestimate dispersed oil’s toxicity.
ARE U.S. WATERS MORE EXPENDABLE THAN SWEDEN OR THE UK’S WATERS?
The simple question I ask is: If the UK bans Corexit and Sweden recommends against it, why the hell are we using it on American waters?
The danger to humans can be expected. The warnings on the Corexit packaging is straightforward. In the tech world, you’ll hear the acronym RTFM– Read the Friggin’ Manual!!! Breathing in Corexit is not recommended. It’s not good for your lungs, eyes, skin or even your clothes! If you’re really geeky like me, you can read that Corexit is not good for marine life either.
It seems NALCO Corexit is also dangerous to crops.
VIDEO: AIR FORCE DELIVERING WIDE SPREAD AERIAL SPRAYING OF COREXIT
It seems like damage brought by the oil gusher has spread way beyond the ocean, coastal areas and beaches. Collateral damage now appears to include agricultural damage way inland Mississippi.
A mysterious “disease” has caused widespread damage to plants from weeds to farmed organic and conventionally grown crops. There is very strong suspicion that ocean winds have blown Corexit aerosol plumes or droplets and that dispersants have caused the unexplained widespread damage or “disease”.
PLEASE WATCH THE VIDEO: WIDESPREAD MYSTERIOUS CROP DAMAGE IN GULF AREA
There is no other explanation for the crop damage. It’s conjecture on my part but everything points to something that has a widespread effect on plants and crops. Studies on Corexit and its effects on plants are consistent with the damage sustained in the lower Mississippi area. Check out the table on page 877 of the study. While no one precisely knows, all the signs point to BP’s use of aerosolized Corexit brought inland by the ocean winds or rain.
Remember acid rain? Now it seems we could have toxic dispersant rain.
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