A few interesting thoughts from an article found at
“It is important to understand that oil spill dispersants do not in any way reduce the amount of oil spewing from its source nor do they eliminate oil from the environment. What these chemical agents are designed to do is alter the physical and chemical properties of the oil allowing it to sink further down into the water column.”
As ProPublica.org points out, there are significant concerns that the treatment could severely harm the Gulf’s ecosystem, leaving dead fish in its wake.
The exact makeup of the dispersants is kept secret under competitive trade laws, but a worker safety sheet for one product, called Corexit, says it includes 2-butoxyethanol, a compound associated with headaches, vomiting and reproductive problems at high doses.
“There is a chemical toxicity to the dispersant compound that in many ways is worse than oil,” said Richard Charter, a foremost expert on marine biology and oil spills who is a senior policy advisor for Marine Programs for Defenders of Wildlife and is chairman of the Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary Advisory Council. “It’s a trade-off – you’re damned if you do, damned if you don’t — of trying to minimize the damage coming to shore, but in so doing you may be more seriously damaging the ecosystem offshore.”
other interesting articles . . .
Chemicals Meant To Break Up BP Oil Spill Present New Environmental Concerns
BP’s Oil-Dispersant Use Veers Into Uncharted Science (Update1)
Is the BP Clean-Up Creating A Toxic Soup in the Gulf?
What are we dumping into the Gulf to ‘fix’ the oil spill?