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Experts weigh risks of chemical ammo against oil in Gulf

Von: pautrey (rpautrey2@gmail.com) [Profil]
Datum: 02.06.2010 21:04
Message-ID: <978cd6a2-4ff4-4f28-8b18-d626cc72b044@b21g2000vbh.googlegroups.com>
Newsgroup: alt.health
Experts weigh risks of chemical ammo against oil in Gulf
Updated 23h 53m ago
By Elizabeth Weise

When seven fishermen helping to clean up the Gulf
of Mexico oil spill in Breton Sound, La., were
hospitalized with respiratory and other problems
last week, suspicion turned to the chemical
dispersants being used.

Still, most experts agree that the spilled oil presents
bigger risks to humans than do the dispersants. "No
matter how you look at it, the oil is more toxic than
dispersants," says LuAnn White of the Tulane
University Center for Applied Environmental Health
in New Orleans.

Gina Solomon of the National Resources Defense
Council (NRDC) suggests one possibility might be
that the fishermen were hit with hydrocarbon
pneumonia, when oil mist ends up in the lungs,
creating a powerful irritation and immunological
effect. She says her fear is that the dispersant might
allow the oil to more easily become a breathable
mist during high winds, though there was no wind
when the fishers took ill.

A Coast Guard spokeswoman, Capt. Meredith Austin,
said that fatigue, working in hot weather and even
the smell of petroleum could produce similar

In any event, as oil continued leaking into the Gulf
on Monday, the debate over the semi-experimental
use of dispersants in the largest oil spill in U.S.
history continues. So far, more than 820,000
gallons of Corexit 9500 have been used in the Gulf.
The Environmental Protection Agency had asked BP
to stop using it or explain why it couldn't. BP said
the dispersant was the best tool and reduced the
amount it was using by at least half.

A coalition of Gulf environmental and fishing
groups has called for President Obama to
immediately end the use of dispersants, unless
government scientists agree they are safe. Other
groups say the dispersants, which break the oil into
tiny droplets, might be helpful.

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