Permission to repost granted by Dahr Jamail.
Wednesday 12 January 2011
by: Dahr Jamail and Erika Blumenfeld
In October 2010, Truthout tested several water and soil samples from the Gulf of Mexico for chemicals in BP's crude oil and toxic dispersants. One sample of dead marine life was also tested.
Truthout also obtained and had analyzed a sample of pure Corexit 9500, one of the toxic dispersants used to sink the crude oil. The dispersants BP has used in the Gulf of Mexico are banned in at least 19 other countries. BP has used at least 1.9 million gallons of the dispersants in the Gulf of Mexico to sink their 4.9 million barrels of crude oil.
The samples were tested in a private lab via gas chromatography by an analyst who requested anonymity.
Pass Christian Harbor at dusk. (Photo: Erika Blumenfeld)
Lab tests have confirmed oil and chemicals from the dispersants in the samples tested, which contradicts ongoing statements from both BP and the Obama administration that the Gulf of Mexico is safe from the effects of the BP oil disaster.
Lab tests with Corexit 9500, oil, and saltwater. (Photo: Scientist who performed lab analysis)
These two vials were filled with saltwater and a small amount of motor oil. Two drops of Corexit 9500 were added to the vial on the left and both vials were gently shaken for 30 seconds. Both samples then sat for one hour before this picture was taken.
The milky color of the water in the vial on the left displays the manner in which the dispersant causes a portion of the oil to dissolve into the water. When crude oil in the Gulf is treated with dispersant, a large portion of the oil is also dissolved into the seawater, allowing harmful volatile contaminants to also dissolve into the water, which would have otherwise evaporated had the oil been sitting on the surface.
This theory is nothing new, but this picture displays this phenomenon visually. After nine days, there was still no sign of any separation between the dissolved oil and water at all. In fact, it currently appears that the effect has only increased over time.
The foam atop the vial containing the dispersed oil resembles foam that this writer, other journalists, BP cleanup workers and fishermen along the Gulf Coast have witnessed present in the wake of areas of oil having been sprayed with dispersants.
Many of the chemicals present in the oil and dispersants are known to cause headaches; nausea; vomiting; kidney damage; altered renal functions; irritation of the digestive tract; lung damage; burning pain in the nose and throat; coughing; pulmonary edema; cancer; lack of muscle coordination; dizziness; confusion; irritation of the skin, eyes, nose, and throat; difficulty breathing; delayed reaction time; memory difficulties; stomach discomfort; liver and kidney damage; unconsciousness; tiredness/lethargy; irritation of the upper respiratory tract; and hematological disorders.