Gulf Restoration Network

United for a Healthy Gulf

Matt Preusch
Scientists Call for End to Use of Dispersants in Gulf
Blog -
Friday, 23 July 2010 09:42

A group of prominent scientists is calling for an end to the use of dispersants in the Gulf of Mexico and better study of how the potentially toxic mix of oil and dispersant is impacting human and ecosystem health.

"We believe that Corexit dispersants, in compbination with crude oil, pose grave health risks to marine life and human health and threaten to deplete critical niches in the Gulf food web that may never recover," said the statement, authored by doctor Susan Shaw of the the Marine Environmental Research Institute.

The third episode of the Gulf Restoration Network's Gulf Tides series focused on dispersants in the Gulf:


BP has pumped nearly 2 million gallons of chemical dispersant into the Gulf since the Deepwater Horizon rig blew up in April. Though the well in capped for now, scientists agree the worst of the impacts of the spill are yet to come and will last for years, even generations.

And, the statement said, the unprecedented use of dispersants nearly a mile below the surface of the ocean could be making the situation in the Gulf far worse.

"Once oil is dispersed in deep water, it cannot be recovered," the statement says. "Oil, when combined with dispersants in the water column is more toxic to marine species than either oil or dispersant alone."

The other signatories to the statement include:
  • Sylvia A. Earle, PhD, Ocean Explorer-in-Residence, National Geographic Society; Advisory Council Chairman, Harte Research Institute
  • Susan D. Shaw, DrPH, Marine Toxicologist, Director, Marine Environmental Research Institute
  • Carl Safina, PhD, President, Blue Ocean Institute
  • David Gallo, PhD, Oceanographer, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
  • David Guggenheim, PhD, Marine Biologist/Conservationist, President, 1planet1ocean – a project of The Ocean Foundation
  • Edith Widder, PhD, President and Senior Scientist, Ocean Research & Conservation Association
  • Wallace J. Nichols, PhD, Research Associate, California Academy of Sciences

Matthew Preusch is a volunteer at the Gulf Restoration Network.



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