BP Embraces Exxon’s Toxic Dispersant, Ignores Safer Alternative
It has been confirmed that the dispersal agent being used by BP and the government is Corexit 9500, a solvent originally developed by Exxon and now manufactured by Nalco Holding Company of Naperville, IL. Their stock took a sharp jump, up more than 18% at its highest point of the day today, after it was announced that their product is the one being used in the Gulf. Nalco’s CEO, Erik Frywald, expressed their commitment to “helping the people and environment of the Gulf Coast recover as rapidly as possible.” It may be that the best way to help would be to remove their product from the fray. Take a look at some of the facts about Corexit 9500:
A report written by Anita George-Ares and James R. Clark for Exxon Biomedical Sciences, Inc. entitled “Acute Aquatic Toxicity of Three Corexit Products: An Overview” states that “Corexit 9500, Corexit 9527, and Corexit 9580 have moderate toxicity to early life stages of fish, crustaceans and mollusks (LC50 or EC50 – 1.6 to 100 ppm*). It goes on to say that decreasing water temperatures in lab tests showed decreased toxicity, a lowered uptake of the dispersant. Unfortunately, we’re going to be seeing an increase in temperatures, not a decrease. Amongst the other caveats is that the study is species-specific, that other animals may be more severely affected, silver-sided fish amongst them.
Oil is toxic at 11 ppm while Corexit 9500 is toxic at only 2.61 ppm; Corexit 9500 is four times as toxic as the oil itself. Sure, a lot less of it is being introduced, but that’s still a flawed logical perspective, because it’s not a “lesser of two evils” scenario. BOTH are going into the ocean water. [Read more…]