BP’s preferred dispersants, thus far, have been Corexit 9500 and 9527, which are manufactured by Nalco, Inc. BP executives and board members have direct financial ties to Nalco, so that the m0re Corexit they use in their “clean-up” efforts the more they stand to profit from the disaster on the back-end.
This explains why the EPA’s May 20th order for BP to stop using Corexit dispersants within 24 hours, due to their high toxicity and relative ineffectiveness versus other products on the market, was entirely disregarded by the company. Sadly, this event revealed just how toothless our government’s regulatory agencies are vis-a-vis powerful multinational corporations, and how critical it is that we not rely on our representatives to hold BP accountable. We need a grassroots movement and must demand the end of further dispersant use in the Gulf.
Let’s take a closer look at Corexit. According to the EPA’s dispersant comparison chart Corexit 9500, for instance, has the highest toxicity to Menindia fish of all 18 dispersants tested. Only 2.61 parts per million of Corexit 9500 (mixed with oil at a ratio of 1:1o) is required to kill 50% of fish exposed to the chemical within 96 hours. In other words, 1 gallon of the Corexit 9500/oil mixture is capable of rendering 383,141 gallons of water toxic to point of being lethal to 50% of Menindia fish within 96 hours of exposure.
When compared to another EPA approved dispersant, Nokomis 3-F4, Corexit 9500 is 38 times more toxic to Menindia fish and 17 times more toxic to Mysdopsis “fairy” shrimp.
Corexit 9500 and 9527 were also determined to be the least effective dispersants of all 18 tested, further confirming that BP’s decision to use these products is based on an attempt to profit handsomely from their use, and not their expressed goal of “cleaning up the mess.”
Ultimately the conflict between the EPA and BP being waged right now on using “more effective” and “less toxic” dispersants, skirts the real issues. Although using “less toxic” dispersants is a good idea, the more “effective” they are, the more harm they do to the life in the Gulf. The focus should not be only on the inherently toxic nature of all dispersants, but on the inherently toxic consequences of dispersing the oil through any means.
Dispersing the oil into the water column accelerates the poisoning of all marine life, deep throughout the water column and seabed. Ultimately it results in “covering-up” the extent of the disaster on the surface, while amplifying the damage within our oceans. Also, when the dispersants admix with the crude oil, a third far more toxic product is produced called “dispersed oil.” Dispersed oil has been shown to be more toxic than the sum of its parts.
In the EPA fact sheet on Corexit 9500 the dispersant has a toxicity Menidia beryllina fish of 25.20 parts per million, resulting in the death of 50% of the specimen within 96 hours. The test oil (Fuel Oil #23) exhibited the same toxicity at a lower 10.72 parts per million. When the Corexit and oil were mixed, however, the EPA tests revealed an exponential increase in the toxicity of the dispersed oil mixture reaching 2.61 parts per million for a lethal dose of 50% of the the fish.
We must see beyond the superficial debate over using “less toxic dispersants” and acknowledge that the dispersion techniques – by their very principle – make the problem far worse.
Please sign our petition, contact your state representatives and promote this issue further by recirculating our press release.
ARTICLES ON THE TOPIC:
“Not only is it [Corexit 9500] less effective than another type of dispersant listed by the EPA [Dispersant SPC 1000], it is also around three times as toxic” Source: Food and Water Watch
“Of 18 dispersants whose use EPA has approved, 12 were found to be more effective on southern Louisiana crude than Corexit, EPA data show. Two of the 12 were found to be 100 percent effective on Gulf of Mexico crude, while the two Corexit products rated 56 percent and 63 percent effective, respectively. The toxicity of the 12 was shown to be either comparable to the Corexit line or, in some cases, 10 or 20 times less, according to EPA.” Source: New York Times, May 13th 2010
BP’s primary dispersant is known as COREXIT EC9500. The following lists technical and toxicological data about it.
TAKE ACTION BY SIGNING THE PETITION- STOP THE USE OF DISPERSANTS IN THE GULF
TAKE ACTION BY SIGNING THE PETITION- REVEAL DISPERSANT’S TOXIC SECRETS