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Corexit’s Foul Stench

We have been reporting (and reporting about) the dangers of Corexit since the beginning of its use in the BP Gulf Disaster. Amongst things that we at Protect The Ocean have noticed is that Corexit is detectable in significant concentrations within shoreline waters days ahead of the arrival of the oil itself, and in beach waters that show no sign of oil contamination. Corexit is lethal to fish fry within 96 hours (and the stuff has been in there a lot longer than 96 hours) at just 2.6 ppm, that’s a pretty serious concentration! The fact is that far lower concentrations have proven lethal on fish fry when the duration went to 2 weeks.

A local Channel 5 news station at the Gulf did some independent testing. They took samples of water that children were playing in, and found Corexit solvents in concentrations ranging from 16 ppm to well over 200 ppm. Needless to say, I wouldn’t want anything in (or from) those waters if it could be helped. There’s no doubt that employing Corexit to bury the oil beneath the surface (where they wouldn’t be forced to pay for cleaning it up) was their contingency plan in case of major catastrophic leak. There’s little doubt that they realized the potential ramifications of infusing the stuff at 133+ atmospheres of pressure in cold water.

There’s no question that the EPA violated the Clean Water Act of 1972 in permitting them to do so, as it specifically prohibits a government agency from doing so if there was any reasonable doubt as to the damage which might be done by allowing such chemicals into navigable waterways. (Since Corexit had never been approved for any application other than at surface, in spray (droplets, not mist) by boat or aircraft, according to the Notebook,) it was clearly NOT known what the ramifications might be. Protect The Ocean will not speculate on the motivations of Lisa Jackson et al in allowing BP to use this product in this fashion.

One can check out the Protect The Ocean blogs for more on the close financial relationships between BP, Nalco (which manufactures and sells Corexit,) Exxon (which developed Corexit) and even Blackstone (which owns places that keep dolphins and whales in captivity, such as 6 Flags Magic Mountain and SeaWorld.) The blame game could go on for a very long time in regards to this debacle… but that won’t help any of us in dealing with the catastrophe of the use of Corexit.

Some two MILLION gallons of Corexit have been dumped into the ocean by BP. Given its propensity to spread ahead of the oil itself, there’s little doubt that it is “dispersing” into other areas than the Gulf. The good part is that doing so will reduce the concentration. The bad part is that concentrations far lower than 2.6 ppm are likely to prove harmful and even lethal to marine life over a long period of time. Suggestions that it is Evaporating are fanciful at best. Solvents are an oil-based product. They don’t just “evaporate” and disappear.

Even those aspects which can become airborne don’t disappear. They pollute our air instead of our water. In the weeks, months and years to come, all residents of planet earth will be impacted in one way or another by this atrocious action. One cannot spew such chemicals into 70% of the skin of our planet and not have repercussions.

We at Protect The Ocean strongly advise against infusing other chemicals to counteract the Corexit. This is not some kid’s Beginning Chemistry kit. This is our planet, our home, and there are countless billions of other living things here which must suffer the consequences of our choices. There is no such thing as a free lunch, and anything we do, especially in such a scale, will have an impact upon the ocean and the rest of the global ecology.

If it seems so very unlikely that such a quantity could really cause damage to something as large as the earth, take a step back and look at the ratios. We survive by breathing oxygen. But the air is composed of 78.09% nitrogen, 20.95% oxygen, 0.93% argon, 0.039% carbon dioxide. Just imagine what would happen to plants if that balance was thrown off and they coudln’t get 0.039% carbon dioxide, or if the oxygen level were to go to 15%, or how few PPM it takes of certain gases to kill us or make us sick. Seawater is much more complicated and delicate, made up of Oxygen 85.84% oxygen, 0.091% sulfur, 10.82% hydrogen, 0.04% calcium, 1.94% chloride, 0.04% potassium, 1.94% chloride, 0.04% potassium, 1.08% sodium, and 0.0067% Bromine… amongst elements and compositions. Modify those balances and ratios, and it becomes inhospitable to its inhabitants. Do so enough, and it becomes toxic. We dare not play Chemist with this, our home.

We have been reporting (and reporting about) the dangers of Corexit since the beginning of its use in the BP Gulf Disaster. Amongst things that we at Protect The Ocean have noticed is that Corexit is detectable in significant concentrations within shoreline waters days ahead of the arrival of the oil itself, and in beach waters that show no sign of oil contamination.

Corexit is lethal to fish fry within 96 hours (and the stuff has been in there a lot longer than 96 hours) at just 2.6 ppm, that’s a pretty serious concentration! The fact is that far lower concentrations have proven lethal on fish fry when the duration went to 2 weeks. A local Channel 5 news station at the Gulf did some independent testing. They took samples of water that children were playing in, and found Corexit solvents in concentrations ranging from 16 ppm to well over 200 ppm. Needless to say, I wouldn’t want anything in (or from) those waters if it could be helped.

There’s no doubt that employing Corexit to bury the oil beneath the surface (where they wouldn’t be forced to pay for cleaning it up) was their contingency plan in case of major catastrophic leak. There’s little doubt that they realized the potential ramifications of infusing the stuff at 133+ atmospheres of pressure in cold water. There’s no question that the EPA violated the Clean Water Act of 1972 in permitting them to do so, as it specifically prohibits a government agency from doing so if there was any reasonable doubt as to the damage which might be done by allowing such chemicals into navigable waterways. (Since Corexit had never been approved for any application other than at surface, in spray (droplets, not mist) by boat or aircraft, according to the Notebook,) it was clearly NOT known what the ramifications might be.

Protect The Ocean will not speculate on the motivations of Lisa Jackson et al in allowing BP to use this product in this fashion. One can check out the Protect The Ocean blogs for more on the close financial relationships between BP, Nalco (which manufactures and sells Corexit,) Exxon (which developed Corexit) and even Blackstone (which owns places that keep dolphins and whales in captivity, such as 6 Flags Magic Mountain and SeaWorld.) The blame game could go on for a very long time in regards to this debacle… but that won’t help any of us in dealing with the catastrophe of the use of Corexit.

Some two MILLION gallons of Corexit have been dumped into the ocean by BP. Given its propensity to spread ahead of the oil itself, there’s little doubt that it is “dispersing” into other areas than the Gulf. The good part is that doing so will reduce the concentration. The bad part is that concentrations far lower than 2.6 ppm are likely to prove harmful and even lethal to marine life over a long period of time.

Suggestions that it is Evaporating are fanciful at best. Solvents are an oil-based product. They don’t just “evaporate” and disappear. Even those aspects which can become airborne don’t disappear. They pollute our air instead of our water.

In the weeks, months and years to come, all residents of planet earth will be impacted in one way or another by this atrocious action. One cannot spew such chemicals into 70% of the skin of our planet and not have repercussions. We at Protect The Ocean strongly advise against infusing other chemicals to counteract the Corexit. This is not some kid’s Beginning Chemistry kit. This is our planet, our home, and there are countless billions of other living things here which must suffer the consequences of our choices. There is no such thing as a free lunch, and anything we do, especially in such a scale, will have an impact upon the ocean and the rest of the global ecology.

If it seems so very unlikely that such a quantity could really cause damage to something as large as the earth, take a step back and look at the ratios. We survive by breathing oxygen. But the air is composed of 78.09% nitrogen, 20.95% oxygen, 0.93% argon, 0.039% carbon dioxide. Just imagine what would happen to plants if that balance was thrown off and they coudln’t get 0.039% carbon dioxide, or if the oxygen level were to go to 15%, or how few PPM it takes of certain gases to kill us or make us sick. Seawater is much more complicated and delicate, made up of Oxygen 85.84% oxygen, 0.091% sulfur, 10.82% hydrogen, 0.04% calcium, 1.94% chloride, 0.04% potassium, 1.94% chloride, 0.04% potassium, 1.08% sodium, and 0.0067% Bromine… amongst elements and compositions. Modify those balances and ratios, and it becomes inhospitable to its inhabitants. Do so enough, and it becomes toxic. We dare not play Chemist with this, our home.

As they finally put a cap on the mile-deep gusher and proclaim victory, let us not allow this disaster to become Out Of Sight and Out Of Mind. The oil and solvents are still out there, continuing to poison us and our world every day. It’s reasonable to be angry, but let’s not vent that anger and then forget. Let us continue to be aware of the damage that continues to be done, work towards solutions and become ever more vigilant in making sure that something like this is never allowed to happen again.

We hold this truth to be self-evident: By protecting the ocean, we bring life and health to ourselves.

Research, Editorial, and Opinion Submitted to the Protect The Ocean Blog by John Taylor

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3 replies
  1. justmeint says:

    No one is so powerful that they can stop the march of time…
    And so it is happening – that which was predicated, foretold by those with commonsense – those who were living through the horror known as the Deep Water Horizon Disaster. The oil was spewing forth and the government and BP were trying to hide the amount by dispersing it with COREXIT.

    You cannot pour on, spray onto or disperse the oil without creating an even bigger ecological disaster.

    http://just-me-in-t.blogspot.com/2010/08/time-and-tide-waits-for-no-man.html

    Reply
  2. Toby says:

    Beautiful article.
    Corexit = cover up not clean up.
    God knows how much this toxic soup has killed.
    Overwheming and sad. Money is evil. Blood has been exchanged for money here. And the blood is on string pullers behind BP and the US Government.

    Reply

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