How BP Swept Dispersants Under the Rug


The PR battle continues between Obama and BP (image by boxhai). With the climax occurring today between BP top brass and Obama at the White House, another major danger continues to spread in the Gulf, BP’s widespread use of Corexit toxic dispersants. More than 1,000,000 gallons has been deployed by BP in an effort to break up surface and underwater oil.

Corexit is deadly. It is toxic and it has even been banned from use in BP’s home country, the United Kingdom. Both state and local officials have asked BP to stop using it (versions Corexit EC9500A and Corexit EC9527A), and for a small period environmentalists complained.

BP evaded responding, issuing brief statements and ducking the issue. Since then the drama about compensation and culpability has drowned out the pressure on BP’s Corexit usage. BP is content to let is stay under the rug, and the company continues refusing to listen to its U.S. regulators.

Whether the reasons are simply same old incompetent irresponsibility or a cover up by BP doesn’t matter. The toxic impact on the marine environment cannot be underestimated. The Gulf is getting destroyed by two types of toxins, the crude oil from Deep Horizon and BP’s Corexit dispersants.

Until pressure is brought to bear on BP, we can count on the company letting the toxic chemical versions of Corexit stay under the rug. Don’t let the government BP media war distract you from the true dangers the oil spill presents: Reckless destruction of our marine environment and livelihood.

Special thanks to Leigh Durst and Jimmy Gardner for suggesting this topic.

P.S. Citizen Effect’s Dan Morrison and My Yu will join me on a mission to the Gulf on June 27 – July 1 to help affected fishermen. Details are here.

Geoff Livingston is a regular contributor to the Live Earth blog.


  • According to an NASW listerv,, someone said that their are, “interlocking directors between Nalco and BP. Nalco supplies the dispersant Corexit (sp?). BP bought all the much better dispersant by Alabastor, and it is warehoused and not being used at all, presumably until they have used up all the Corexit.”

    Thus demonstrating that BP will again put business interests ahead of the Gulf marine environment or the U.S. population.

  • Geoff,

    The most shocking evidence I’ve seen is what happens to some of the oil when exposed to Corexit. Sometimes it becomes a new kind of sludge that is sticker than the original oil. Worse, this stuff also kill fish eggs or create defects in marine life.

    Clearly, this dispersant was meant for small spills, where fish and other life have an opportunity to swim away from it. It was not meant to cover the entire Gulf of Mexico.

    Good post. Solid analysis on the confused communication that continues to spill forth from the unified command.


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