BP oil spill Corexit dispersants suspected in widespread crop damage

By Yobie Benjamin
San Francisco Chronicle

Just when you thought the damages BP could cause was limited to beaches, marshes, oceans, people’s livelihoods, birds and marine life, there’s more.

BP’s favorite dispersant Corexit 9500 is being sprayed at the oil gusher on the ocean floor. Corexit is also being air sprayed across hundreds of miles of oil slicks all across the gulf. There have been widespread reports of oil cleanup crews reporting various injuries including respiratory distress, dizziness and headaches.

Corexit 9500 is a solvent originally developed by Exxon and now manufactured by the Nalco of Naperville, Illinois. Corexit is is four times more toxic than oil (oil is toxic at 11 ppm (parts per million), Corexit 9500 at only 2.61ppm).

In a report written by Anita George-Ares and James R. Clark for Exxon Biomedical Sciences, Inc. titled “Acute Aquatic Toxicity of Three Corexit Products: An Overview” Corexit 9500 was found to be one of the most toxic dispersal agents ever developed.

According to the Clark and George-Ares report, Corexit mixed with the higher gulf coast water temperatures becomes even more toxic. The UK’s Marine Management Organization has banned Corexit so if there was a spill in the UK’s North Sea, BP is banned from using Corexit.

The danger to humans can be expected. The warnings on the Corexit packaging is straightforward. Breathing in Corexit is not recommended.

It seems NALCO Corexit is also dangerous to crops.

It seems like damage brought by the oil gusher has spread way beyond the ocean, coastal areas and beaches. Collateral damage now appears to include agricultural damage way inland Mississippi.

A mysterious “disease” has caused widespread damage to plants from weeds to farmed organic and conventionally grown crops. There is very strong suspicion that ocean winds have blown Corexit aerosol plumes or droplets and that dispersants have caused the unexplained widespread damage or “disease”.

There is no other explanation for the crop damage. Everything points to something that has a widespread effect on plants and crops. While no one precisely knows, all the signs point to BP’s use of aerosolized Corexit brought inland by the ocean winds or rain.

Remember acid rain? Now it seems we could have toxic dispersant rain.

Ed. Note: Or, this could be from acid rain caused by Lucite International’s poisonous gas vapor leak a couple weeks prior:
Vapor leak at Lucite plant north of Frayser causes evacuation of about 200
By Ryan Poe
Originally published 09:30 a.m., May 25, 2010
Updated 11:48 p.m., May 25, 2010

About 200 people were evacuated Tuesday morning in the area north of Frayser after a glitch caused what was described as sulfuric fuming at the Lucite International chemical plant.

Roads within a one-mile radius of the plant, located on Fite Road near U.S. 51, were closed just after the toxic fumes were reported at about 9 a.m., said Shelby County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Steve Shular.

People were able to return to their houses and businesses after the air quality had been tested, shortly before 11 a.m., Shular said.

The toxic fumes were created in the sulfuric acid regeneration facility in the northeast corner of the plant, said Lucite safety, health and environmental manager Tom Eubank. The facility is scheduled for maintenance every 30 days and was about to be checked.

The unexpected glitch that caused the mixture of sulfur dioxide and trioxide is being investigated, Eubank said. He said the facility was shut down before fumes could reach “dangerous concentrations.”


Chemical Fumes Lead to Evacuation
Updated: Tuesday, 25 May 2010, 12:39 PM CDT
Published : Tuesday, 25 May 2010, 10:22 AM CDT

MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Potentially dangerous chemical fumes at the Lucite International plant near Millington led to the evacuation of businesses and residences along Highway 51 and Fite Road Tuesday morning.

The Lucite plant, which is next to the Dupont plant, started fuming a vapor mix of sulfur dioxide and sulfur trioxide, which reacts with moisture in the air to create a dense sulfuric acid mist. Sulfur trioxide can be harmful if ingested or inhaled, and can also cause skin and severe eye irritation on contact.

Plant spokesman Tom Eubanks said there was not a chemical leak, but referred to the situation as “a fuming condition” as the sulfuric acid regeneration plant was started up.

The Shelby County Fire Department and HAZMAT teams were called in to assist.

Several businesses along Highway 51 between Fite Road and the Loosahatchie River in about a one mile radius were evacuated until emergency crews safely cleared the scene.

Steve Shular, a spokesman for the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office, said 30-40 people in the immediate area were affected by the evacuation.

Marney Gillmore, the manager of the Lucite International plant, said that the all-clear was sounded around 10:15am, about an hour after vapor was found escaping.

Gillmore said about 200 plant employees were instructed to follow emergency procedures and went to safety sites within the plant, which was not evacuated.

No injuries were reported.

9 responses to “BP oil spill Corexit dispersants suspected in widespread crop damage

  1. Pingback: How BP Swept Dispersants Under the Rug | Geoff Livingston's Blog

  2. We are vacationing on Don Pedro Island off Englewood Florida. This is a pristine wildlife sanctuary. Last night there was a storm and strong waves washed up on the shore. Today it is sunny and a there is a large amount of foam in the water that is leaving behind a brownish yellowish stain on the sand.


    Why, you might ask, was BP able to pump the Gulf full of chemicals that have never been tested for their human and environmental safety? The answer lies, in part, in the Toxic Substances Control Act, the 34-year-old law that governs the use of tens of thousands of hazardous chemicals. Under the act, companies don’t have to prove that substances they release into the air or water are safe—or in most cases even reveal what’s in their products.


    One Corexit ingredient is 2-butoxyethanol, a chemical that can cause liver and kidney damage.

    Does every one in congress think they are immune? This act is a serious violation of the health, safety and welfare of the American people!

    Without responsible regulation chemical and oil companies will destroy the Earth along with our oceans which is happening now!

  3. Pingback: Voices From the Gulf: “We Are Being Poisoned” (Pt. 3) |

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