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Corexit (often styled COREXIT) is a product line of solvents primarily used as a dispersant for breaking up oil slicks. It is produced by Nalco Holding Company which is associated with BP and Exxon. Corexit is a highly poisonous toxin used as a dispersant in the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, with COREXIT 9527 having been replaced by COREXIT 9500 after the former was deemed too toxic. Oil that would normally rise to the surface of the water is broken up by the dispersant into small globules that can then remain suspended in the water.
COREXIT 9500 is the sole product we have been making for Gulf responders since the spill began. Limited quantities of COREXIT 9527 may have been drawn from existing dispersant stockpiles from around the world. COREXIT 9500 does not include the ingredient 2-butoxy ethanol, an ingredient in COREXIT 9527.
Although dispersants can have a positive effect, they still contain the emulsifiers that support the micelle formation in seawater, and these emulsifiers are themselves problematic.
BP uses dispersants supplied by the water treatment company Nalco: Corexit™ 9500 and Corexit™ 9527A. So far, more than 2.2 million liters of chemicals have been dropped on the oil spills in the Gulf of Mexico by aircraft. The U.S. EPA has permitted the use of various compositions of Corexit™ in the fight against oil pollution, but not without objections. In particular, some have expressed concern because the emulsifier used in Corexit™ 9527A, 2-butoxyethanol, is thought to be problematic for marine animals. Corexit™ 9500, which is used as a solvent for light gasoline, should dillute the oil on the surface, but it too poses a risk to the environment