Thanks to fellow science blogger Ed Brayton for the link to this New York Times article, which suggests that because of ties to the company, BP chose to flood the Gulf with a dispersant that is both more toxic than many of the other options and also less effective.
So far, BP has told federal agencies that it has applied more than 400,000 gallons of a dispersant sold under the trade name Corexit and manufactured by Nalco Co., whose current leadership includes executives from BP and Exxon. And another 805,000 gallons of Corexit are on order, the company said, with the possibility that hundreds of thousands of more gallons may be needed if the well continues spewing oil for weeks or months.
But according to EPA data, Corexit ranks far above dispersants made by competitors in toxicity and far below them in effectiveness in handling southern Louisiana crude.
Of 18 dispersants whose use EPA has approved, 12 were found to be more effective on southern Louisiana crude than Corexit, EPA data show. Two of the 12 were found to be 100 percent effective on Gulf of Mexico crude, while the two Corexit products rated 56 percent and 63 percent effective, respectively. The toxicity of the 12 was shown to be either comparable to the Corexit line or, in some cases, 10 or 20 times less, according to EPA.
Definitely the way to go – my theory is that BP is trying to help out Wildlife biologists, who at this point don’t really know how the dispersants and oil will affect marine life. What they need is a little more certainty in their projections – a little extra poison, a little less effectiveness and those predictions get to nearly 100%!
Of course, there is the money:
Critics say Nalco, which formed a joint venture company with Exxon Chemical in 1994, boasts oil-industry insiders on its board of directors and among its executives, including an 11-year board member at BP and a top Exxon executive who spent 43 years with the oil giant.
“It’s a chemical that the oil industry makes to sell to itself, basically,” said Richard Charter, a senior policy adviser for Defenders of Wildlife.
What a great opportunity to send Nalco’s stock rising! It just gets better and better.