Friday, August 20, 2010

Hazards of Oil Dispersants

1. While researching the effects of chemical dispersants I found some pretty startling things. I found that British Petroleum is using a chemical called Corexit which alone is extremely toxic, but when combined with oil is even more toxic. When oil is left alone it does not sink as fast so it is much less harmful. If oil does not sink it cannot harm the coral, grasses, or smaller animals; but with dispersant it harms anything below the oil, above the oil, or around the oil. If smaller animals ingest the polluted grass they will become contaminated, which will contaminate everything above the small fish in the food chain.

2. Wether or not fixing one problem creates another depends on what you are dealing with. For example, if you spill some water and you wipe it up, you aren't creating a new issue. But, in British Petroleum's case yes. The oil spill by itself was extremely devastating but by adding the toxic dispersant, they are creating a combination that is even more lethal than the oil itself. When the oil is left alone, it can bio degrade very easily, but with the dispersant it remains in the water for may more years. In conclusion, when British Petroleum added the dispersant, they created a worse problem than they had before.

3. In my opinion, the chemical dispersant is way more toxic than the oil. The dispersant also allows the oil/chemical mixture to go places that would have never been harmed by the spill without the introduction of the chemical dispersant. The chemical dispersant also allows the oil to get into fishes gills and other parts of their bodies which could contaminate millions of fish that would have been unaffected by the spill. In other words, the introduction of the chemical dispersant has caused much greater disaster than if the oil was just left alone.

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