Is Using Dispersants on the BP Gulf Oil Spill Fighting Pollution with Pollution?

It remains unclear what impact chemical dispersants will have on sea life–and only the massive, uncontrolled experiment being run in the Gulf of Mexico will tell

By David Biello.

Roughly five million liters of dispersants have now been used to break up the oil spilling into the Gulf of Mexico, making this the largest use of such chemicals in U.S. history. If it continues for 10 months, as long as Mexico’s Ixtoc 1 blowout in 1979 in the same region, the Macondo well disaster has a good chance of achieving the largest global use of these chemicals, surpassing 10 million liters.
And there is no doubt that dispersants are toxic: Both types of the dispersal compound COREXIT used in the Gulf so far are capable of killing or depressing the growth of a wide range of aquatic species, ranging from phytoplankton to fish. "It’s a trade-off decision to lessen the overall environmental impact," explained marine biologist Jane Lubchenco, director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), at a press conference on May 12. "When an oil spill occurs, there are no good outcomes." … Read more>>

Advertisements

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: