"Did BP's Oil-Dissolving Chemical Make the Spill Worse?"

"BP succeeded in sinking the oil from its blown well out of sight — and keeping much of it away from beaches and marshes last year — by dousing the crude with nearly 2 million gallons of toxic chemicals. But the impact on the ecosystem as a whole may have been more damaging than the oil alone.

The combination of oil and Corexit, the chemical BP used to dissolve the slick, is more toxic to tiny plants and animals than the oil in most cases, according to preliminary research by several Florida scientists. And the chemicals may not have broken down the oil as well as expected.

Scientists reported some of their early findings last week at a Florida Institute of Oceanography conference at the University of Central Florida. The researchers were funded a year ago through a $10 million BP grant.

The initial findings require more research for scientists to reach definitive conclusions. But scientists said they were struck by the studies so far."

Kate Spinner reports for the Sarasota Herald-Tribune May 30, 2011.

Friday, June 3, 2011