We knew it was coming. When, in 2010, we watched over 200 million gallons of crude oil spill into the Gulf of Mexico, we knew the after-effects would take years to surface.
Last year, Louisiana State University’s Department of Oceanography and Coastal Sciences reported finding lesions and grotesque deformities in sea life—including millions of shrimp with no eyes and crabs without eyes or claws. Since then, the horrifying effects have been even worse:
- Toxins at 3,000 times the acceptable level in Gulf seafood
- Dead dolphins in record numbers, killed by weakened immune systems and brucella bacteria
- Blue crab populations wiped out
- Oyster beds not reproducing
- 60% of coral on platforms killed
When Deepwater Horizon exploded, it became abundantly clear that BP had absolutely no idea how to stop the leak or clean up the oil that was gushing into the Gulf. Scrambling to look like they were at least trying to do something, the company secured about a third of the world’s supply of dispersants, namely Corexit 9500 and 9527. Of the two, 9527 is more toxic.
“Corexit dispersants emulsify oil into tiny beads, causing them to sink toward the bottom,” explains TakePart. “Wave action and wind turbulence degrade the oil further, and evaporation concentrates the toxins in the oil-Corexit mixture, including dangerous compounds called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), known to cause cancer and developmental disorders.”
At the time of the spill, Popular Science reported, “Dispersants have never been applied on this scale, leaving environmental scientists guessing about the consequences. Corexit may have caused seven cleanup workers to be admitted to the hospital with shortness of breath and nausea.” But nausea turned out to be the least of our worries.
Back in 2010, Care2 warned about the dangers of assigning clean up workers to beaches without protective gear, and we pointed out how BP continued to dump Corexit all over the Gulf Coast even after the EPA ordered it to stop. Since then it has been discovered that the dispersants didn’t degrade as expected, that air deployment likely contaminated crops, and that it could have created toxic rain in other parts of the world.
Countless Gulf Coast residents have reported mysterious and ongoing illnesses since the BP oil spill began. And earlier this week, TakePart wrote about Steve Kolian, a researcher and diver who, along with his team, took water and marine life samples at several locations in the months following the spill after Corexit had been used. Now, they too are sick with symptoms resembling something from a sci-fi horror film, including bleeding from the nose, ears, breasts and even anus.
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