Oil Spill Dispersants Create Own Hazards

oil spill at sunset
Photo by Getty Images, courtesy of ProPublica.
TAMPA (2010-5-5) -

Out in the Gulf, BP is using huge amounts of chemical dispersants to break down the oil spill and keep it away from shore. But these dispersants create environmental problems of their own.

Fisherman Paul Redman of Pensacola is as concerned about these dispersants as he is about the oil spill:

“Whatever they’re spraying to dissipate that oil is sinking,” Redman said.

“And we can’t find out anything about that. But I’m sure it’s going to kill off whatever’s on the bottom,” he said.

A 2005 National Academy of Sciences report says the dispersants can kill fish eggs, but many environmental effects are unknown.

Abrahm Lustgarten of the non-profit investigative reporting group ProPublica says the makers of dispersants aren’t required to reveal what’s in them.

“It’s held as a proprietary trade secret, meaning no one in the public or the EPA knows what the full list of ingredients is,” he said.

Government and oil industry officials admit there’s an environmental cost to using dispersants – but they say it’s worth it to keep oil away from shore.

To hear more from Lustgarten about the known and unknown effects of disperants, CLICK HERE.

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