What Are The Ingredients In The Dispersants Used In The BP Oil Spill Cleanup?

Dispersants are all over the news right now. The real question is what are they really?

Dispersants are all over the news right now. The real question is what are they really?

Originally published on MarketPlace.org

written by Adriene Hill
Easy Answer: Just ask the EPA.

To help clean up all that oil gushing into the Gulf of Mexico, BP has been dousing the area with something called a chemical dispersant, which breaks down the oil into small droplets. The government say nearly 1.8 million gallons of the stuff have been dumped into the Gulf so far.

As we reported today on Marketplace, there is growing concern about the safety of these chemicals ending up in the seafood we eat. Scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) have been testing seafood from the Gulf for oil to prevent contaminated food from reaching your dinner table. But they haven’t been on the look out for dispersant.

Warning: Hazardous to your health?
The warning label on Corexit EC9500A, the primary dispersant being used in the Gulf, says this about ingesting the chemical: “May cause nausea and vomiting. Can cause chemical pneumonia if aspirated into lungs following ingestion.”

See the ingredients after the jump.

NOAA and the FDA both say that they’re not worried about dispersant in seafood. According to the FDA, dispersant can’t penetrate the bodies or gills of fish. But, just in case, they’re coming up with a test.

What’s it made of?
Responding to a request from the EPA last month, Nalco, the manufacturer of Corexit, handed over a detailed ingredient list. Here are the highlights for your browsing pleasure:

Well start with the ingredients that are listed as hazardous:
– Distillates (petroleum), hydrotreated light
– Propylene Glycol
– Organic sulfonic acid salt

Other ingredients can be found in common household products…

Continue reading article, here.

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