New York, NY — A year after the BP Gulf oil disaster and under pressure from environmental groups, the EPA finally released a list of the chemical components in oil dispersants. The federal agency also disclosed health and safety information about the chemical components that were previously withheld from the public as “confidential business information.” The potential health and environmental effects of the unprecedented use of dispersants in the Gulf of Mexico, both in volume and the underwater application, however, remain unknown.
EPA released a list of the 57 ingredients in all of the dispersants eligible for use in oil spills and identified the specific ingredients of some of them—in particular, Dispersit, Mare Clean, and COREXIT 9500 and COREXIT 9527, which were used in response to the oil disaster in the Gulf. The 57 ingredients were part of a larger list of 150 chemicals made public by EPA, which also included components found in consumer products.
The new chemical dispersant data was released as a result of a lawsuit filed in July of 2010 on behalf of Florida Wildlife Federation and Gulf Restoration Network, represented by Earthjustice. However, EPA continues to withhold the identity of specific ingredients found in most of the dispersants that are eligible for use in response to oil spills.
“This disclosure was long overdue,” said Earthjustice attorney Marianne Engelman Lado. “These dispersants were used in massive quantities, nearly 2 million gallons, exposing workers, community residents, and wildlife to toxic chemicals, without adequate information about whether they were adding injury to the already tragic circumstances.”
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