U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released results from its first round of toxicity testing for eight oil dispersants this week.
After BP’s report that it was unable to find a dispersant that is less toxic than Corexit 9500 – the dispersant that is being used in the Gulf of Mexico – the agency decided to conduct independent toxicity tests to investigate alternatives.
EPA tested Corexit 9500 A and JD-2000, Dispersit SPC 1000, Nokomis 3-F4, Nokomis 3-AA, ZI-400, SAF-RON GOLD, and Sea Brat #4.
The study examined the impact of the eight dispersants on aquatic species that are particularly sensitive to toxins. It found that, when the dispersant is unmixed with oil, none of the tested dispersants displayed biologically significant endocrine disrupting activity and that the dispersants generally have the same impact on the aquatic species.
Additional testing will study the impact of dispersants mixed with oil on aquatic life.
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Continue reading ENN: EPA toxicity test results for dispersants
During a conference call with reporters on May 24th, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, made a clear promise that the EPA would conduct its own tests to determine the least toxic, most effective dispersant available in the volumes necessary for the massive Gulf spill.
Now, a month later, those tests have not been completed. Meanwhile more than 1.4 million gallons of Corexit – the brand of dispersant chosen by BP – has been dumped into the gulf.
The use of two Corexit dispersants has generated controversy from the start, with critics claiming the toxic substance could do more harm than good. Recently, a senior scientist at the Environmental Defense Fund, Richard Denison, added to the controversy noting that the toxicity of Corexit when combined with oil is greater than the toxicity of either on its own.
Scientists from environmental groups who’ve been monitoring the dispersant issue note that this sort of testing doesn’t happen overnight. Though, Gina Solomon, a senior scientist at the Natural Resources Defense Council added that these tests should have been conducted long before a catastrophic spill.
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Continue reading Mother Jones: Hey EPA: How Are Those Dispersant Tests Going?
Photo: Jeff Warren
BP announced Sunday that they were collecting more than 10,000 barrels of oil a day from the recently placed containment cap. BP’s next step is to close the vents on the cap that are still allowing streams of oil to escape. U.S. Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen tempered the good news, however, saying “There will be oil out there for months to come.”
Beachgoers will likely have to deal with oil on the shores well into the fall, which brings up the question: Is it safe to swim? Health Departments of three states have already issued swim advisories urging people to steer clear of any waters with visible oil. One health expert said swimmers should avoid oily water because the effects of exposure to oil and dispersant are not currently known.
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Continue reading ABC: Progress on BP Spill Containment, But Is It Safe to Swim?