Posts tagged Deepwater Horizon
By David Gutierrez
(NaturalNews) The cleanup technique used by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) following the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico actually made the spilled oil more than 50 times more toxic than doing nothing, according to a study conducted by researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology and the Universidad Autonoma de Aguascalientes (UAA), Mexico. The findings were published in the journal Environmental Pollution.
Over the course of three months, 4.9 million barrels of oil spilled into the Gulf of Mexico (although some scientists believe that the spill is likely ongoing to this day). To aid in the cleanup, the EPA ordered another two million gallons of a chemical “dispersant” known as Corexit poured into the Gulf.
“There is a synergistic interaction between crude oil and the dispersant that makes it more toxic,” study co-author Terry Snell said.
The idea behind dispersants such as Corexit is that they break apart large masses of oil into tiny droplets, that then spread out over a wider area and have less of an impact in any one place. However, oil actually becomes more toxic in smaller droplets, because it is more easily absorbed into cells (bioavailable).
Despite assurances from British oil company BP that no oil was present at the Deepwater Horizon site in the Gulf of Mexico, two Louisiana State University men have returned with video evidence of large blooms of crude oil swelling up to the water’s surface where the doomed oil rig once hovered.
Tests on the oil were inconclusive as far as linking it to the now-plugged oil well, but if it is from the Deepwater Horizon spill it could indicate the formation of fissures on the seabed, seeping oil into the ecosystem anew.
If so, that would mean the worst accidental release of oil in human history — a spill so bad, it took five months just to stop crude from flowing — isn’t quite over.
This video is from AL.com.
Earthjustice advocacy, litigation reveal dispersants’ dirty chemical secrets
Pop quiz: nearly 2 million gallons of chemicals are about to be dumped into the ocean where they will mix with oil gushing from a blown out well. Do you:
A. Study beforehand the chemicals’ effects on marine life?
B. Study beforehand the chemicals’ effects on humans?
C. Study beforehand what will happen when the chemicals mix with the oil?
D. Just dump the chemicals in mass quantities without sufficient knowledge of their toxicity or of how they will affect marine life and humans?
Well, following last year’s Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, answer D is exactly what happened.
With millions of gallons of oil spurting from the blown-out well, chemical oil dispersants were applied in unprecedented amounts both at the ocean’s surface and underwater at the well head. A report released today by Earthjustice and Toxipedia Consulting Services presents a scientific literature review of chemical ingredients found in dispersants that were eligible for use at the time of the Deepwater Horizon disaster. And the results point to a toxic cocktail of oil and chemicals that threaten humans, wildlife and the environment.
The report, The Chaos of Clean-Up, comes as a result of Earthjustice’s advocacy and litigation, which led to the release of information detailing the chemical ingredients used in oil dispersants. Earthjustice attorney Marianne Engelman Lado, representing the Gulf Restoration Network and the Florida Wildlife Federation, challenged the Environmental Protection Agency in court to reveal all available health and toxicity information concerning oil dispersants. In response, the EPA released an aggregated list of the 57 ingredients eligible for use during oil spill cleanup operations, along with previously withheld health and safety information. The information can be viewed at a special Earthjustice webpage at earthjustice.org/features/the-chaos-of-clean-up.
Toxipedia’s scientific 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: five chemicals are associated with cancer; 33 are associated with skin irritation from rashes to burns; 33 are linked to eye irritation; 11 are or are suspected of being potential respiratory toxins or irritants; 10 are suspected kidney toxins; eight are suspected or known to be toxic to aquatic organisms; and five are suspected to have a moderate acute toxicity to fish.