Chemical dispersant used in Gulf sparks outrage

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May 27, 2010, 6:36 pm
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(NECN: Latoyia Edwards) - BP has been using chemical dispersants to try and reduce the damage caused by the Gulf oil leak. The impact of those chemicals is unknown.

Cleaning up the Gulf of Mexico oil spill is literally a pain in the neck says some workers-- now complaining of nausea, difficulty breathing, dizziness and severe headaches.


Critics are worried exposure to a chemical being used to prevent oil slicks from coming ashore.

Dr Shine: These things can be poisonous to things that live in the ocean so its not a surprise that perhaps it can have adverse affects on humans too.
   
 Dr. James shine is the senior lecturer of aquatic chemistry at Harvard University's school of public health.
   
Shine says BP is using a controversial chemical dispersant  to break oil into tiny particles that sink underneath the water's surface protecting--- the wetlands and its wildlife- but threatening animals on the seafloor.

Shine: The concern is you know the one they are using is on the more toxic end of the dispersants that exist.

The Environmental Protection Agency has requested that BP cut back on the chemical dispersant called Corexit and seek a better choice..

But BP officials essentially said no, and the manufacturer of Corexit told congressional members the dispersant is safe and effective.

The dispersant used in the Gulf is sparking outrage in New England. Massachusetts Congressman Ed Markey- who chairs the house energy and environment subcommittee-- wrote the EPA questioning the risks and consequences of using the chemicals.

  But Dr. Shine says despite the controversy, dispersants are continually used to break apart oil spills.

Shine: Ee did it you know with the Exxon Valdez probably saying we've got to come up with something better and now we are here decades later doing the same thing.
   
Down in the Gulf of Mexico, oil clean up workers say they don't know what is making them sick.

At least one Louisiana lawmaker is pushing for BP to pay for the workers medical care.

Tags: Latoyia Edwards, BP, oil leak, Gulf
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