The Dispersal of Oil in Water

Which is not the “going away” of oil.

More info here.

hat tip: Diandra Leslie-Pelecky


  1. #1 Dr. Joseph H. Guth
    August 25, 2010

    The work of this scientist still leaves the main questions open and unanswered. Dispersal into smaller droplet sizes and micelles does not mean the components of the crude oil are any less toxic, carcinogenic, mutagenic, teratogenic or bioaccumulative. In fact it is likely that emulsification, which is what dispersants do, will speed up their negative consequences with the exception of the gross cleanup efforts and costs. The presence of dispersants should help to mobilize the larger masses of crude from its intrusions into the coastal areas though it won’t do much for the tar balls that are already buried in the sandy bottom and beaches. So are we forced to trade one set of bad outcomes for another?

    One of the most irritating things to me is that the necessary research into this kind of remediation science has not taken place AHEAD of the need for it. Reaction is not the way to conduct our environmental management and regulatory policies. The myopic operation of our government and research agencies is becoming so apparent in the panorama of large scale emergency response needs that I fear we are all living in a glass house of false sense of security. And disaster is only a news story away!

  2. #2 Greg Laden
    August 25, 2010

    You should click through to the coctail party physics link which goes into this in great detail: