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The Chaos of CleanUp: Analysis - Potential Health/Environmental Impacts of Chemical Dispersant

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posted on Aug, 24 2011 @ 07:01 PM
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After the Deepwater Horizon blowout last summer BP dumped copious amounts of Corexit ( over a million gallons) into the Gulf of Mexico. They sprayed it for weeks even after the EPA told them to stop using it.

Numerous people who worked with cleanup or lived on the coast of the Gulf complained of being ill after the spill and since, some with skin problems and severe respiratory problems. According to this study the chemicals in dispersant can cause cancer, rashes,burns ,eye irritation,respiratory problems,and suspected kidney toxicity. It can also cause problems with marine life.

This study was done by Toxipedia Consulting Services out of Seattle, Washington.



The review demonstrates the wide range of potential impacts from exposure to the chemicals found in dispersants. From carcinogens, to endocrine disruptors, to chemicals that are toxic to aquatic organisms, some of the ingredients in oil dispersants are indeed potential hazards. For instance, of the 57 ingredients,
• 5 chemicals are associated with cancer
• 33 chemicals are associated with skin irritation, from rashes to burns
• 33 chemicals are linked to eye irritation
• 11 chemicals are suspected or potential respiratory toxins or irritants
• 10 chemicals are suspected kidney toxins.

As for potential effects on the marine environment,
• 8 chemicals are suspected or known to be toxic to aquatic organisms
• 5 chemicals are suspected to have a moderate acute toxicity to fish.
Clearly, some of the chemical ingredients are more toxic than others, and some dispersants are more toxic in particular environments. The widely-varying toxicity of different dispersants underscores the importance of full disclosure and proper selection of dispersants for use in oil spill response. While revealing some of the potential hazards of dispersants, the literature review also highlights the extent of our current lack of knowledge about dispersants and their impacts. Ultimately, the absence of thorough scientific research on dispersants and the chemicals that comprise dispersants, as well as the lack of public disclosure of each dispersant’s ingredients and formulation, hinders any effort to understand the full impacts of dispersant use. These findings call for more research, greater disclosure of the information that is known, comprehensive toxicity testing, the establishment of safety criteria for dispersants, and careful selection of the least toxic dispersants for application in oil spill response.


Dispersant Analysis

edit on 24-8-2011 by Perplexedandconfused because: (no reason given)

edit on 24-8-2011 by Perplexedandconfused because: (no reason given)




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