Organic Consumers Association

Campaigning for health, justice, sustainability, peace, and democracy
  • Purple flower
  • asian farmer
  • veggie market
  • african wheat farmer
  • woman harvesting
  • allium
  • 3 lambs
  • apple
  • apple
  • apple vendor
  • apples in basket
  • apples on tree

Toxic Chemicals in the Gulf Are Just Part of the Corporate Assault on Public Health and the Environment

After weeks of silence on the issue, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finally decided to go public with the list of ingredients used to manufacture Corexit, the chemical dispersant used by BP in the Gulf of Mexico oil disaster. There are two things about this announcement that deserve our attention: First, the ingredients that have been disclosed are extremely toxic, and second, why did the EPA protect the oil industry's "trade secrets" for so long by refusing to disclose these ingredients until now?

As reported in the New York Times, Brian Turnbaugh, a policy analyst at OMB Watch said, "EPA had the authority to act all along; its decision to now disclose the ingredients demonstrates this. Yet it took a public outcry and weeks of complaints for the agency to act and place the public's interest ahead of corporate interests."

On the toxicity question, you could hardly find a more dangerous combination of poisons to dump into the Gulf of Mexico than what has been revealed in Corexit. The Corexit 9527 product has been designated a "chronic and acute health hazard" by the EPA. It is made with 2-butoxyethanol, a highly toxic chemical that has long been linked to the health problems of cleanup crews who worked on the Exxon Valdez spill.

A newer Corexit recipe dubbed the "9500 formula" contains dioctyl sodium sulfosuccinate, a detergent chemical that's also found in laxatives. What do you suppose happens to the marine ecosystem when fish and sea turtles ingest this chemical through their gills and skin? And just as importantly, what do you think happens to the human beings who are working around this chemical, breathing in its fumes and touching it with their skin?

The answers are currently unknown, which is exactly why it is so inexcusable that Nalco and the oil industry giants would for so long refuse to disclose the chemical ingredients they're dumping into the Gulf of Mexico in huge quantities (over a million gallons dumped into the ocean to date).

But it gets even more interesting when you look at just how widespread this "chemical secrecy" is across Big Business in the USA... and how the U.S. government more often than not conspires with industry to keep these chemicals a secret.

Like OCA on Facebook

Translate

English French German Italian Portuguese Russian Spanish