Study Confirms Secret Chemicals Used to Disperse Oil in the Gulf Cause Cancer
In the days following the massive Deepwater Horizon oil disaster that occurred in the Gulf of Mexico back in April 2010, BP and federal authorities began dousing Gulf waters with secret dispersant chemicals designed to break up oil and prevent it from reaching shores. But a new investigation into the specific contents of these chemical solutions, which were previously hidden from the public, has revealed that many of them cause cancer.
According to the environmental law firm Earthjustice, Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests filed by various environmental watchdog groups following the government’s refusal to share the ingredients of the dispersants have revealed that two solutions used in the Gulf, Corexit 9500 and 9527, contain chemicals associated with causing skin irritation and burns, eye irritation, respiratory problems, kidney dysfunction, and cancer.
“People started feeling respiratory problems, getting rashes, some reported vomiting,” said Marianne Engelman Lado from Earthjustice, concerning reported symptoms after the Corexit chemicals had been sprayed. “People asked BP and the government what is in these products? The government said, we can’t tell you it’s secret.”
But the FOIA filings forced the government to eventually make public the contents of not only the two Corexit formulas used in the Gulf, but also the ingredients to all 14 proprietary dispersant formulas currently approved for use. According to a recent report by WTSP 10 News in Tampa, Fla., these 14 formulas contain a total of 57 different ingredients, five of which are linked to causing cancer, and eight of which are known to be toxic to aquatic life.
According to Toxipedia, a free toxicology encyclopedia, BP spread over 1.8 million gallons of chemical dispersants into the Gulf following the Deepwater Horizon oil disaster. Toxipedia has created an in-depth resource on oil dispersants that includes details about the 57 chemicals used in them. You can learn more about oil dispersants by visiting:
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