EPA Grossly Misrepresents The Toxicity Of Corexit Used In Gulf Of Mexico
By: Susan Aarde
Quite incredibly, the EPA issued a positive report on May 1, 2012 regarding the safety and toxicity of various dispersants used in the BP Gulf Oil Spill. Included in this assessment was the use of Corexit.
This report “indicated that all eight dispersants had roughly the same toxicity, and all fell into the “practically non-toxic” or “slightly toxic” category. Scientists found that none of the eight dispersants displayed endocrine-disrupting activity of “biological significance.” The same report went on to say that “dispersant-oil mixtures were generally no more toxic to the aquatic test species than oil alone.”
The first question that jumps out for those who have researched this subject with any degree of thoroughness is how this recent report fails to reconcile with previous studies performed by the EPA. Here is some test data retrieved from the EPA website that was posted previous to the BP Gulf Oil Spill.
“The dispersant (Corexit 9500) and dispersed oil have demonstrated the following levels of toxicity per the EPA website link that follows:
- (1) 10.72 parts per million (ppm) of oil alone will kill 50% of the fish test species in a normal aquatic environment within 96 hours.
- (2) 25.20 parts per million of dispersant (Corexit 9500) alone will kill 50% of the fish test species in a normal aquatic environment within 96 hours.
- (3) 2.61 parts per million of dispersed oil (Corexit-laden) alone will kill 50% of the fish test species in a normal aquatic environment within 96 hours.”
This data diverges from the recent report to such a significant degree that the results which were just posted at the EPA.GOV website under the title of “The BP Oil Spill: Responsive Science Supports Emergency Response” must be seriously scrutinized.
What is the buying public to make of such conflicting data? Those who have medical conditions which require complete avoidance of toxic seafood need to know with certainty what they are eating.
Likewise, the fishermen in the Gulf need to know the true condition of their catch. Swimmers and beachgoers need to know the state of the water, as well as the beaches.
Boaters ought to be informed of the relevant risk factors when out in the areas of recently sprayed waters, whether surface or deep sea.
The most serious questions to emerge from this report revolve around the issue of credibility. Can the EPA ever be trusted again to conduct the necessary research regarding anything having to do with the Gulf of Mexico oil spill caused by BP?
By issuing such blanket statements about the relatively low toxicity associated with this spill, irrespective of location on the beach, in the waters, in the wetlands or estuaries, seems to be quite disingenuous.
Furthermore, the federal government’s declaration that the ‘clean up phase’ of the Deepwater Horizon spill is over begs for review, especially in light of the large quantities of submerged oil unaccounted for residing in the water column, DOJ’s discovery of false flow rate numbers reported by BP and new sightings of oil slicks all over the Gulf. In light of all that, the clean up phase is not over and further use of Corexit dispersant isn’t an effective solution.
Moreover, that the EPA has approved for use a very safe bioremediation agent known as Oil Spill Eater II, but has yet to allow its use in the Gulf raises many additional questions. From our investigation, it has become clear that Corexit has been given preferential treatment over other much safer alternatives. The Gulf Oil Spill Remediation Conference (GOSRC) was quoted as follows in this regard:
“When we heard about Oil Spill Eater II, and the fact that it is EPA-approved (NCP listed) and has demonstrated its effectiveness at least 14 times for the BP Gulf Oil Spill, we wondered why it wasn’t being used 24/7.”
The GOSRC went on to issue a press release entitled: Coalition Of Enviro, Citizens And Political Groups Demand COREXIT Use Be Stopped which pointed out the deliberate false image which has been created around the use of this toxic dispersant — Corexit 9500.
The Gulf Rescue Alliance (GRA) also made the recent observations in their press release entitled: BP Gulf Oil Spill Revisited.
“Many of these studies point out the obvious; that when you mix a tremendous volume of released oil with methane gas and further mix it with a toxic dispersant like Corexit, as they have done throughout this oil spill, a chemical cocktail is created that will have as far-reaching ecological ramifications as it will profound environmental consequences.”
The Earth Orgainization (TEO) has also weighed in on this issue through their release of an excellent documentary entitled: Hidden Crisis in the GULF. Barbara Wiseman, TEO President, has been an ardent advocate for safer oil remediation measures since the very beginning of this oil spill. She has said that:
“At the beginning of the disaster, TEO investigated to find effective, non-toxic technologies currently available in adequate supply to clean up an oil spill of this size. Once we isolated the best solutions, we then investigated to find what the barriers to getting them implemented were. The barriers have all come down to specific people in the EPA. They are, in effect, holding the Gulf hostage and, for some unexplained reason, won’t let it be cleaned up.”
Lastly, perhaps the words of Steven Pedigo reflect the voice of reason more than any other in this ongoing oil spill when he was quoted in A 2nd Anniversary Report on the BP Gulf Oil Spill as follows:
“The toxic dispersants add absolutely nothing to EFFECTIVE RESPONSE. There is no scientific basis for it, and their use violates The Clean Water Act, EPA’s charter and common sense.”
“Corexit’s label clearly states it can cause kidney failure and death and the MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheet) specifically warns, “Do not contaminate surface water” with it. Additionally, toxicity testing in regards to marine species shows little tolerance by all forms of sea life; thus, applying it on spills as a preferred response method increases the toxicity of the spilled oil on which it is used.”