And once again, fear mongering on ATS. I should have seen this coming about the Corexit 9500 series right when they started using it.
It's a good thing they highlighted the parts in red that they wanted you to focus on:
Wow! When you put it in big bold red text like that, Billions of people are going to die! Oh wait, not billions - probably none. I always get those
Here is a rather generic Corexit 9500 series Material Safety Data Sheet for those interested. If you've ever worked in industry, you may have had a
crash course in Hazardous Materials Handling. Some people are given better training. If you're a Hazwoper trainer, hello there!
The most common question I've been asked about MSDS were about the reporting in the "Right to Know" and "Other Information" sections. The truth
about this reporting is: It's not uncommon for the manufacturers of just about ALL chemicals to pay a few students at Berkley a few shekels to have
them say something about "may have carcinogenic effects via long term exposure, may be found to cause Cancer in the State of California" (really?
what if I use them in a different state?). Usually, they don't... but just in case, in some freak of nature somebody gets cancer of the (insert
organ here) whatever, they don't need a massive lawsuit in their laps, so it's a preventative measure.
In the case of most petroleum byproducts and dispersant - yes, they can be hazardous to the central nervous system, if you're huffing it like an 8th
grade kid looking for a cheap high, or positively swimming in it.
Since Corexit is being used in a situation here where you couldn't ask for better ventilation, I'm afraid the MSDS couldn't be more appropriate in
its' evaluation of a low possibility of exposure, with the standard PPE (personal protective equipment) associated with low exposure to mild agents.
From what I understand ALL BP employees who are involved in the use of these agents are given the proper NIOSH gear and entry level Hazardous
Materials training. So wherein lies the rub?
"They do appear to have toxic properties. Both data sheets include the warning "human health hazards: acute." The MSDS for Corexit 9527A states
that "excessive exposure may cause central nervous system effects, nausea, vomiting, anesthetic or narcotic effects," and "repeated or excessive
exposure to butoxyethanol [an active ingredient] may cause injury to red blood cells (hemolysis), kidney or the liver."
Well when you put it like that - who would want to use it? Here's the kicker: I have been dealing with Responder information for the last 20 years
or so, and I've been hard pressed to find a MSDS that DID NOT say something similar. Just about everything you eat, drink, touch, sleep on, drive,
work with, and sit and BREATHE is toxic, deadly, will kill you, cause cancer and have nasty effects that will make you a sad panda. Everything.
Don't believe it? Here's a MSDS for Gelatin:
Gelatin, pretty harmless stuff, right? Who doesn't love Jello? Now imagine reading that MSDS with this line in big bold letters (with a few added
exclamation points, how did those get in there?)
WARNING! MAY FORM COMBUSTIBLE DUST CONCENTRATIONS IN AIR!!
Are a few people going to feel nauseated when using industrial agents? Yes. Should they be wearing the proper PPE? Yes. Are they? That's a good
question because if they were, there wouldn't be this big of a tizzy about all of it. Corexit isn't the best thing they could be using (considering
there are biodegradable alternatives), but it's readily available, inexpensive (again compared to biodegradables) and not exactly nuclear waste as
far as toxicity. There are going to be people sensitive to anything. Some more than others.