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Dispersant from BP Oil Spill Could Ruin Marine Ecosystem

Scientists say that the dispersant used in the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico could destroy the entire marine ecosystem.


The dispersant, according to scientists, had a major impact upon the small sea creatures, significant to the overall marine environment. There is a circle of life underwater, where the smaller creatures are vital to the larger creatures. The smaller creatures serve as food for the medium creatures, who are then eaten by the larger creatures. Without the smaller creatures underwater as the foundation for animal life in the Gulf, the larger animals will soon start to die. The tar mats that are still underwater and the slick oil that still lies on the ocean floor only makes the animals anemic and sickly—factors that can quickly lead to death for any animal. Without sea creatures, the marine economy on the Gulf Coast will suffer. Commercial fishermen are still out of jobs and struggling to make ends meet.


Corexit, the chemical dispersant used, has a side to it that is repulsive: while it does not harm animals on the surface, it does harm animals closer to the ocean floor. This seems as if the chemical is some kind of poisonous surprise; nevertheless, it will kill the surface animals eventually if those same animals have no smaller sea creatures to ingest. The results from the study, published in the journal PLoS One, record studies that have been done in a microcosmic environment rather than an actual assessment of water life in the ocean. While authentic implications have not been explored, scientists estimate that the final result will be worse than what they predict in a closed experiment.


The Deepwater Horizon disaster was said to have witnessed 5 million barrels of oil spilling into the Gulf of Mexico. The federal government employed the services of Nalco to use its dispersant, Corexit, on the oil to break it up and help dissolve the toxic substance. The company used 1.84 million barrels of Corexit on the Gulf of Mexico to break up the oil spill. Several environmentalist groups have come to file a lawsuit against the EPA in recent days. They claim that EPA violated the Clean Water Act when it published its NCP (non-contingency plan) without providing safety information on the chemicals. While Corexit was among the chemicals listed on the NCP, there were other safe chemical products that could have been employed to help with the oil spill.

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