Corexit: a review of what we know

See Also: BP sued over dispersant used on spill

Toxicologist testing for Corexit fingerprint in Crab Larvae – and finding it

NALCO, makers of Corexit: “Corexit is a simple blend of six well-established, safe ingredients that biodegrade, do not bioaccumulate and are commonly found in popular household products.

Dispersants persisted after BP spill – 2.26.11

With rare exception, the dispersant did not degrade but instead moved with the plumes

“When you read about Corexit, it’s supposed to biodegrade,” observes Carys Mitchelmore of the University of Maryland’s Center for Environmental Science in Solomons, “…the dispersant’s apparent persistence … is somewhat unexpected”.

THE EPA ON DISPERSANTS: “The Cure is NOT worse than the disease” – 6.30.10

Initial tests of Corexit, the oil dispersant that BP is using in the Gulf of Mexico, and of competing products finds that the dispersants range from “practically nontoxic’’ to “slightly toxic,’’ the Environmental Protection Agency says.

In a conference call with reporters Wednesday afternoon, Paul Anastas, the agency’s assistant administrator for research and development, said the dispersants were tested on shrimp and on a small fish called the inland silverside in government laboratories and contractors’ labs; some were more toxic to one marine animal than the other.

But the labs have not yet tested the toxicity of dispersants when mixed with oil, or products formed by the oil-dispersant mix when it is digested by microbes. (The purpose of the dispersants is to break the oil down into smaller droplets than can more readily be digested by the microbes.)

report released by the agency did not spell out how effective the dispersants were in breaking up the oil.

“The dispersants are “expected to biodegrade in weeks or months, rather than remaining in the ecosystem for years as oil might’’ –  Paul Anastas, the EPA’s assistant administrator for research and development.

Did BP’s oil-dissolving chemical make the spill worse? – 5.30.11

BP succeeded in sinking the oil from its blown well out of sight — and keeping much of it away from beaches and marshes last year — by dousing the crude with nearly 2 million gallons of toxic chemicals. But the impact on the ecosystem as a whole may have been more damaging than the oil alone.

The combination of oil and Corexit, the chemical BP used to dissolve the slick, is more toxic to tiny plants and animals than the oil in most cases, according to preliminary research by several Florida scientists. And the chemicals may not have broken down the oil as well as expected.

Scientists reported some of their early findings last week at a Florida Institute of Oceanography conference at the University of Central Florida. The researchers were funded a year ago through a $10 million BP grant.

The initial findings require more research for scientists to reach definitive conclusions. But scientists said they were struck by the studies so far.

They added BP oil to a jar of sea water and saw all the oil float to the top. After adding a little Corexit to the mix, the entire bottle of water turned the color of dark coffee.

In theory, the chemically dissolved oil should be a feast for bacteria that would break down some of the most harmful products in the oil.

But the Corexit may not have done its job properly, said Wade Jeffrey, a biologist with the University of West Florida’s Center for Environmental Diagnostics and Bioremediation.

“So far — and this is very preliminary — we’re not seeing a big difference,” Jeffrey said. “The way we’re doing the experiment, the Corexit does not seem to facilitate the degradation of the oil.”

Additionally, the Corexit and oil mixture tends to be more toxic to phytoplankton — tiny microscopic plants — than the oil itself.

These results are backwards of what the oil companies are reporting,”…

Evidence also is growing that the Corexit did not degrade as promised. A study in January by scientists at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute in Massachusetts indicated that Corexit applied at the well-head — some 800,000 gallons — did nothing to break up the oil and simply drifted into the ecosystem.

FIO researcher Wilson Mendoza similarly has found potential evidence that Corexit remains in the environment much longer than expected. Wilson, a doctoral candidate at the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School for Marine and Atmospheric Science, is developing a fingerprint for the BP oil and the Corexit.

In testing 75 different water samples taken from around the Gulf of Mexico, some contained signatures identified for both the oil and the Corexit a year after the spill.

Dispersants Used in BP Gulf Oil Spill Linked to Cancer – 8.26.11

Among the dispersant chemical ingredients linked to cancer are:

  • Amides, coco, N,N-bis(hydroxyethyl), which is classed as a likely carcinogen
  • Cyclohexene, 1 – methyl – 4 – (1 – methylethenyl) -, (4R) -, which is classed as carcinogenic to rats
  • Ethanol, 2-butoxy- which is listed as a possible carcinogen
  • Petroleum distillates, hydrotreated light, which are classed as a confirmed animal carcinogens with unknown relevance to humans. These distillates carry the additional warning that exposure by inhalation can cause dizziness, headache, nausea, drowsiness, and unconsciousness and prolonged inhalation of high concentrations may damage the respiratory system.

Gulf residents continue to suffer health effects related to the disaster clean-up. “The illnesses we observed were quite unique and different from anything that I had ever witnessed before,” said Dr. Michael Robichaux, a physician in Raceland, Louisiana.

“Although there were scores of complaints early on, the main problems at this time are a loss of memory, seizure type problems, severe abdominal pain, fatigue, irritability and other neurological and endocrine manifestations,” he said.

Earthjustice went to court to obtain the ingredients of dispersants eligible for use, health and safety studies on the chemicals in dispersants, and the application materials and toxicity testing results submitted to EPA by dispersant manufacturers seeking to obtain eligibility status for their dispersant.

“Despite ongoing concerns from the public about the toxicity of listed dispersants and their impacts upon the environment,” she said, “the EPA continues to protect the dispersant manufacturers, who want to keep the ingredients of their products secret.”

See Also:

Dispersants Used on BP Spill Contain Chemicals Associated with Cancer: New Report: Treehugger 8.26.11

Please watch for your own health: Gulf of Mexico Seafood Safety according to the FDA and EPA

RN Trisha Springstead along with the research provided by Trisha James (The TNT Team) prove the seafood isn’t safe using both the FDA and EPA web sites own data that is NOT understood or being properly reported by the various gulf region State Governments, nor by the Federal Government when it says the seafood is safe – it isn’t

NOAA admits Gulf seafood not tested, yet says toxins may BIOACCUMULATE!

Mind you, since this time, testing has been done on Gulf seafood, though not for the toxic ingredients in Corexit, only DOSS.

FYI, Navy Secretary Ray Mabus, who doubles as President Barack Obama’s point man on Gulf Coast oil spill recovery, is pressing America’s armed services to consume as much Gulf seafood as possible. ( 12.15.10


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