Oil Spill: Which Evil is the Lesser?

St. Pete Times writer Craig Pittman questions the use of chemical dispersants in the Gulf.

Fishermen say they are afraid the dispersants could create a series of widespread dead zones in the gulf, contaminating or killing marine life.

No one but the Texas-based manufacturer, Nalco Energy Services, knows exactly what’s in Corexit 9500, the dispersant BP has been spraying on the slick. The company says it may pose a risk for eye and skin irritations and can cause respiratory problems, but “no toxicity studies have been conducted on this product.”

The problem with dispersants is that they are believed by scientists to simply push the oil underwater – out of sight, out of mind – where they poison more fish and marine wildlife.

“A dispersant doesn’t get rid of oil,” said George Henderson, a senior scientist with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Research Institute in St. Petersburg who is the state’s top science adviser on the oil spill. “It just transforms its movement.”

Full Story

Goes in my category of must-reads for Floridians.

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