EDF Health

Selected tag(s): oil dispersant

EPA clarifies it wants more information on those dispersants made public

Richard Denison, Ph.D., is a Senior Scientist.

EPA issued a statement today drawing attention to its posting on its website late last week of the ingredients in NALCO’s Corexit® dispersants, more than one million gallons of which have now been released into the Gulf of Mexico.  The statement appears to have been issued in response to queries from myself and others as to why the posting was not more prominently flagged by EPA.  It indicates that the most recent disclosure “was possible because NALCO waived their claim” that the ingredient identities are proprietary.  It also makes clear EPA doesn’t consider Nalco’s disclosure to be the end of the story, and that EPA will continue to seek to provide the public with more information about the dispersants than their producers have produced to date.

I’ve posted EPA’s statement just beyond this jump. Read More »

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Presto: Corexit® dispersant ingredients revealed

Richard Denison, Ph.D., is a Senior Scientist.

With no fanfare whatsoever, a list of the ingredients in the Corexit® dispersants has been posted on EPA’s website.  I can’t say when the list appeared — I was pointed to it by Elana Schor, a reporter with E&E News, who discovered the list a little earlier today, buried well down on the agency’s dispersants page.

The components of COREXIT® 9500 and 9527 are:

CAS Registry Number Chemical Name
57-55-6 1,2-Propanediol
111-76-2 Ethanol, 2-butoxy-
577-11-7 Butanedioic acid, 2-sulfo-, 1,4-bis(2-ethylhexyl) ester, sodium salt (1:1)
1338-43-8 Sorbitan, mono-(9Z)-9-octadecenoate
9005-65-6 Sorbitan, mono-(9Z)-9-octadecenoate, poly(oxy-1,2-ethanediyl) derivs.
9005-70-3 Sorbitan, tri-(9Z)-9-octadecenoate, poly(oxy-1,2-ethanediyl) derivs
29911-28-2 2-Propanol, 1-(2-butoxy-1-methylethoxy)-
64742-47-8 Distillates (petroleum), hydrotreated light

More to come.

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Another BP leak – this time, it’s their 2009 Gulf of Mexico oil spill contingency plan

Richard Denison, Ph.D., is a Senior Scientist.

Just as BP seems to be making some progress in slowing the leakage of oil from Deepwater Horizon, another leak has appeared.  Karen Dalton Beninato, writing on NewOrleans.com, has obtained, and posted for all to see, a copy of BP’s June 2009 “Gulf of Mexico Regional Oil Spill Response Plan” (caution, it’s a 600-page, 29 MB PDF file!).  [Note added 6/8:  Not sure how long it’s been posted, but the BP Plan is up on the Minerals Management Service website, under “Documents” here (double caution:  this version is a 61 MB PDF!)]

There are some embarrassing parts, with no doubt more waiting to be discovered.  Here’s one example:  The Plan’s “worst-case scenario” for sites more than 10 miles offshore is a total leakage of 177,400 barrels of crude oil (Appendix H).  As reported by the Washington Post this morning, government estimates put the size of this spill at between 23 and 47 million gallons, or between 548,000 and 1.12 million barrels, and counting.

On the issue of dispersants, the Plan is also revealing.  Read More »

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Oil spill dispersants: What part of “contingency plan” did we not understand?

Richard Denison, Ph.D., is a Senior Scientist.

Now more than a month into the mammoth, out-of-control, no-end-in-sight oil spill at Deepwater Horizon, the unanswered questions, data gaps and withheld information surrounding BP’s use of dispersants are flowing in seemingly as fast as the oil is leaking.

With each passing day, it seems we know less and less about the composition and safety of these dispersants, other available dispersants, and even whether the use of dispersants– especially on this unprecedented scale – is to be advised at all.

It begs the question:  Isn’t having ready answers to such questions the reason why the federal government was required to develop a contingency plan in the first place?  Read More »

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Just what the doctor ordered: EPA tells BP to use less toxic oil dispersants in the Gulf

Richard Denison, Ph.D., is a Senior Scientist.

This just out:  The Washington Post is reporting that EPA has given BP 24 hours to identify and locate a supply of a less toxic dispersant to be applied to the Gulf oil spill, and to begin using it within an additional 72 hours.

As noted in my last post, EPA has identified numerous alternative dispersants that are both less toxic and more effective than those on which BP has been relying to date — more than 600,000 gallons of which have already been released into Gulf waters.  The Post also notes that some forms of the initial dispersants, sold by Nalco under the trade name Corexit®, were banned by the British government more than a decade ago.

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Compounding the problem: Why aren’t we using the safest and most effective dispersants in the Gulf?

Richard Denison, Ph.D., is a Senior Scientist.

Imagine learning you have a serious disease.  Your doctor decides to treat you with a drug, noting it could have some bad side effects.  He also plans to inject you with the drug, even though it’s only been used orally before now.  That makes you nervous enough to ask for the name of the drug. “Sorry, I can’t tell you,” he says.  “It’s proprietary.”  Even if you trust your doctor, you’re now left with no way to investigate the risks and tradeoffs you’re facing.

Imagine how mad you’d be if you learned your doctor hadn’t told you there were other drugs that not only had fewer side effects, but were more effective in treating your condition.  And then you learn he’s on the Board of Directors of the company that makes the drug he prescribed.

Now consider that the patient is the Gulf of Mexico, the doctor is BP, and the drug is the oil dispersants, sold by Nalco under the trade name Corexit®, more than 500,000 gallons of which have been applied to date, with no end in sight.  Read More »

Posted in Environment, Health Policy, Regulation, TSCA Reform / Also tagged , , , , | Read 8 Responses