Remember all those dispersants we dumped in the Gulf? Now we are learning what is in them:
In response, the E.P.A. published the full chemical composition of Coexit 9500 and Corexit 9527 and nearly a year later, released an aggregate list of 57 chemical components found in the 14 dispersants, although they provided no information about which chemicals were found in which dispersants, citing an obligation to protect what had been deemed as confidential business information by the manufacturers.
A review has now been published by Earthjustice, in collaboration with Toxipedia, an online toxicology Wiki, of all the scientific literature concerning the potential health impacts of these 57 chemicals. The report finds that “Of the 57 ingredients: 5 chemicals are associated with cancer; 33 are associated with skin irritation from rashes to burns; 33 are linked to eye irritation; 11 are or are suspected of being potential respiratory toxins or irritants; 10 are suspected kidney toxins; 8 are suspected or known to be toxic to aquatic organisms; and 5 are suspected to have a moderate acute toxicity to fish.”
While words like “associated with” or “linked to” may sound weak and unconvincing, the syntax highlights just how little is actually known about these chemicals. For 13 of the dispersant ingredients, no relevant data could be found.
“BP had a particular set of dispersants on hand and no one at the time seemed to know if they were safe, whether they were safer than other dispersants products that could be used or even whether they were safer for people and the environment than oil alone,” said Marianne Engelman Lado, a lawyer with Earthjustice. “BP chose Corexit because it was the dispersant on hand, not because it was the safest. However, regulation of dispersants is so inadequate that BP didn’t have enough information to figure out how it compared with other dispersants or oil alone.”
Not to start the day on a depressing note, but it really is amazing to me just how backwards our decision making is in this nation. I really don’t understand the decision making process that says “We don’t know what is in this shit, but let’s dump it and deal with the aftermath later.” It’s just mindboggling. It’s environmental Russian Roulette. What corporate leaders would make the decision to stockpile lots of a component that contains tons of things about which we basically know nothing? Again, I have no MBA, so I just may not be schooled in the finer Galtian principles, but if I was a CEO, and my staff came to me and said “In case of a spill, we have this stuff called Corexit. We’re not exactly sure what it will do to the environment or people, and we really haven’t spent any time or energy examining that, but we ordered a ton of it produced and have lots sitting around,” my response would not be “AWESOME. ROCK ON! LET’S DO IT.”
In the movie The Corporation, a lot of time is spent pointing out that if the corporation is a person, it is a sociopath. I don’t disagree, but I think that lets off all the individual sociopaths that make up the corporation. These were decisions made by people. Bad decisions, and someone should be held accountable.
And I feel horrible for the people of the Gulf, but I will be damned if I eat any Gulf seafood knowingly for quite some time.