'Relief workers and wildlife in the gulf have become unwitting participants in a dangerous science experiment,' said Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D., N.J.) at a Senate Environment and Public Works subcommittee hearing. 'There are enough warning signs about the risks of the dispersants to know that we need more federal testing.'
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency authorized BP to use Corexit 9500A, aiming to keep oil from reaching the shore. Dispersants break up oil into small droplets, making it easier for microbes to digest oil. The agency has said that its decision was a tough one, but that recent EPA-sponsored testing show dispersed oil is no more toxic to two types of sea life than oil itself. The EPA also said it hasn't found dispersants near coasts or on wetlands.
'Dispersants are working to help keep oil away from our precious shorelines and away from sensitive coastal ecosystems,' Paul Anastas, assistant administrator for the EPA's office of research and development, told the Senate panel."
Siobhan Hughes reports for Dow Jones Newswires August 4, 2010.
"Mississippi River Pours as Much Dispersant Into the Gulf of Mexico as BP" (New Orleans Times-Picayune)
"BP Oil Spill: Obama Administration's Scientists Admit Alarm Over Chemicals" (Guardian)