From Green Right Now Reports
The EPA released the results of its second phase of texts on oil dispersants today, which show that the dispersant BP has used in the Gulf of Mexico oil spill has about the same toxicity as seven other dispersants tested.
The lab results show that BP’s chosen dispersant, Corexit 9500A, when mixed with Louisiana Sweet Crude Oil is “generally no more or less toxic” than mixtures of the oil and other dispersants, according to the EPA.
In addition, the agency’s scientists also found that dispersant-oil mixtures are generally no more toxic to the aquatic species tested (shrimp) than oil alone.
The EPA looked at the effects of Louisiana Sweet Crude and eight dispersants, Dispersit SPC 1000, Nokomis 3-F4, Nokomis 3-AA, ZI-400, SAFRON Gold, Sea Brat #4, Corexit 9500 A and JD 2000, on shrimp.
The dispersants are intended to help oil degrade more quickly by breaking it into smaller particles that microorganisms can consume. But when BP launched extensive use of dispersants on the oil spill in May, some environmentalists questioned the wisdom of adding the chemicals to the already toxic situation, saying that the oil might be more recoverable without the interference of dispersants.
The EPA reiterated in today’s release that its “position has been that BP should use as little dispersant as necessary,” noting that EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson directed BP to reduce dispersant use on May 23.
Jackson also asked BP to analyze Corexit 9500 and possible alternatives for toxicity. When the oil company reported that it could find no better dispersant, EPA launched its own two-phase investigation.
Dispersant use has been largely curtailed since the well was capped on July 15.