Oil dispersant used in spill cleanup has toxic consequences

Posted on July 11th, 2012 No Comments

The dispersant chemicals used to clean up the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill may have done just as much harm to the ocean as they did good. The Government Accountability Office recently reported that scientists have significant gaps in their understanding of how these chemicals affect marine life, and will likely not know for years to come.

The main chemical BP used to disperse the oil was called Corexit, a mixture of 57 chemicals made by an Illinois company named Nalco. Companies are not allowed to use Corexit to clean oil spills in the waters of Canada and the United Kingdom. It was chosen for BP’s spill because Nalco was the only company who could provide the necessary amount of dispersant quickly enough.

The BP oil spill was the first time a chemical dispersant was pumped down to such great depths. When Corexit reacts with oil, it creates a substance that is more toxic than either chemical individually, potentially contaminating the water deep in the ocean, where currents could carry it just about anywhere in the world.

The true extent of the consequences of the Gulf oil spill and the immediate responses to it are perhaps more far-reaching than anyone could have previously imagined. If the oil spill has had an effect on your business, livelihood, or health, contact the oil spill attorneys of Williams Hart at 800-821-1544.

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