Columbia County Observer, Columbia County, Florida
A Call For A Twenty-First-Century Solution In Oil Spill Response
Posted July 1, 2013 05:25 am
“What if that dark area were crude oil and your job was to clean it up without damaging the environment; could you do it?”
By Barbara Wiseman
International President, Lawrence Anthony Earth Organization
I appreciate that you are keeping this issue alive in the news: A Deadly Paradox: Scientists Discover the Agent Used in Gulf Spill Cleanup Is Destroying Marine Life. The devastation that is continuing to occur in the Gulf as a result of the on-going application of Corexit is jaw-dropping and heartbreaking. The article mentioned that Corexit 9527 is more toxic than Corexit 9500.
Toward the beginning of the spill, when the public began to get an idea of how toxic Corexit 9527 was and began demanding that something else be used, the EPA sent a letter to BP giving them 24 hours to find another chemical dispersant on their approved list of products on the National Contingency Plan (NCP) for Oil and Hazardous Chemical Spills.
The EPA did not say a safer product on the NCP list. They demanded another chemical dispersant.
The EPA did this knowing that because of the monopoly it has created for Exxon’s Corexit over the past 25 years, (they have never allowed any other product to be used on U.S. navigable waters when an actual spill happens, despite the fact that there are numerous other products on the NCP list that are less toxic, less expensive and demonstrably more effective), that BP would have to come back saying that the only product that was stockpiled in enough quantities for deployment on a spill of this size was Corexit.
The “solution” was to acquiesce by switching to Corexit 9500.
The public was appeased, but duped, because they didn’t know that per the science and chemical information regarding 9500, 9500 is only slightly less toxic than 9527 by itself, but once it is applied to oil, the combination becomes more toxic than the combination of 9527 and oil. The idea that scientists are just now finding how destructive Corexit is, is totally inaccurate.
Every chemical manufacturer has to fill out a Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) on their product and submit it to the EPA and make it generally available. Both Corexits, 9527 and 9500, specifically say on the MSDS, “Don’t contaminate surface waters [with this product].” Yet, as of July 2010, close to 2 million gallons were sprayed on and injected into the Gulf waters. Because the spraying has continued, this figure is far higher now. The EPA applies a graduated numbering system to chemicals regarding their toxicity level. The higher the number, the less toxic it is.
One product on the NCP list that effectively and thoroughly cleans up oil is so non-toxic you can take a swig of it and it won’t hurt you has a toxicity number of 1400.
Corexit’s toxicity number ranges between 2 and 15, depending on the test. You almost can’t get more toxic than that. The MSDS sheet says that the product is low risk.
However, if you read the fine print, you will find that it is only low risk as long as you rigorously follow the safety guidelines of wearing a full respirator and full hazardous materials suit. In other words, don’t breathe any in and don’t get any on you. If you do, all bets are off. The MSDS list is easily accessible.
The fact that Corexit keeps being touted as “safe as dish detergent” is patently false. This statement is made because Corexit contains 2BTE (2 Butoxy Ethanol) in it. 2BTE can be found in Dawn dish detergent. However, what they don’t say is that 2BTE is a tiny fraction of Dawn dish detergent, while it makes up at least 70% of the volume Corexit.
2BTE is mutagenic (causes mutations), teratagenic (causes birth defects and problems with procreation), and carcinogenic (cancer causing).
All of the devastation that has occurred to the marine life in the Gulf: the shrimp with no eyes, crabs with no eyes and claws, fish with open lesions, fish with tumors, huge increase in dolphin miscarriages, and massive depopulation of the marine life is no surprise and was utterly predictable.
The Lawrence Anthony Earth Organization has written a position paper on this subject, A Call for a Twenty-First-Century Solution in Oil Spill Response. It covers all of this in depth.
Learn more: Change Oil Spill Response Now?
In 2003, Barbara was the Executive Director of a management consulting firm in Los Angeles, CA, when Dr. Lawrence Anthony asked her to help him create the Lawrence Anthony Earth Organization. Until Dr. Anthony’s passing in 2012, they worked together to build and expand LAEO’s reach around the world. Mrs. Wiseman holds the functions of Executive Director for LAEO US, LAEO US Board member, as well as LAEO’s International President. Beginning with the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, Barbara began researching to find effective methods that could be immediately implemented to swiftly and thoroughly clean up the toxic oil and chemical dispersants that so negatively impacted the wildlife, marine life, and public’s health. Once solutions were found, she has then lead LAEO’s campaign to break down arbitrary barriers put in place by government regulators, and now expanded LAEO’s focus to all oil spills around the world.
Here is an excerpt from the paper: DV
A Call for Change in Oil Spill Response:
* Ban the use of toxic chemical dispersants or any other scientifically identified toxic agent used for oil spill “cleanup,” in US navigable waters and all environments.
* Revise and correct the National Contingency Plan and all related guidance documents referenced by regional and area response teams to reflect current science and information, specifically including
» the immediate withdrawal of the EPA’s preapproval (blanket authorization) for the use of dispersants in US navigable waters as part of the National Contingency Plan;
» correction of all material guiding the use of Bioremediation Agents, to remove the misinformation and to list EA type as a first-response non-toxic option;
» add the article BIOREMEDIATION TECHNIQUES, CATEGORY DEFINITIONS, AND MODES OF ACTION IN MARINE AND FRESHWATER ENVIRONMENTS to the NRT, RRT, NOAA, and Coast Guard published bioremediation materials to reeducate all team members on the corrected science concerning bioremediation.
* Exert pressure on the US EPA to issue the necessary authorization for nontoxic bioremediation methods already screened by EPA scientists and approved (Bioremediation Agent Type EA, OSE II) to be deployed immediately to bring the Gulf waters and associated
environments back to good health.
* Raise pollution removal standards up to the original intent of the Clean Water Act by requiring all companies that have the potential through their working processes of creating oil spills to include NCP-listed products that are nontoxic in their cleanup protocols, ensuring their plans employ methods that swiftly and completely remove oil from a spill area.
If you find this to be a worthwhile message and purpose, please help us by passing it on to others. Your help and support is welcome and appreciated.
Lawrence Anthony Science & Technology Advisory Board
Who We Are: http://theearthorganization.org/Whoweare.aspx