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Thursday, May 20, 2010

More on the dispersants being used by BP

But what may be an even larger problem are the unknown, long-term health effects of the dispersants. BP has reportedly bought up more than a third of the world’s supply of these dispersants. The issue is that we do not actually know what chemicals are in many of these dispersants, or what their long-term effects will be since their exact makeup is kept secret under competitive trade laws.
Although the exact chemical content of the dispersants is not public, the National Academies of Science 2005 report on these dispersants included several sobering cautions, including how the chemicals are tested in the first place. Most lab studies use the fluorescent lighting usually found in the labs when they test toxicity and chemical breakdown, but research conducted under conditions more equivalent to natural sunlight indicate that toxicity increases significantly after sun exposure—by 12 to 50,000 times as much. Worse still, The New York Times reports that BP chose to use dispersants manufactured by a company with which it shares close ties, “even though other U.S. EPA-approved alternatives have been shown to be far less toxic and, in some cases, nearly twice as effective.”

The full article here.

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