A new report published by the nation’s leading whistleblower advocacy group provides one of the most thoroughly researched, comprehensive independent analyses of BP’s unrestrained use of Corexit oil dispersants to break up the oil that blasted from its Macondo well after the Deepwater Horizon explosion and sinking in 2010 in the Gulf of Mexico. The report sends a strong warning about the proven, toxic effects of the chemical dispersant on human health and the environment, but it also demonstrates how powerful corporations like BP continually undermine the federal government’s authority, rendering it unable or unwilling to actively prevent such disasters from occurring.
The Government Accountability Project’s (GAP) report, entitled Deadly Dispersants in the Gulf: Are Public Health and Environmental Tragedies the New Norm for Oil Spill Cleanups? is the result of an investigation that started in August 2011 and continued for nearly two years. According to GAP, the report “combines years of research, extensive Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests and dozens of interviews with whistleblowers who experienced the tragedies of the spill and its blundered aftermath firsthand.” Some of the people interviewed for the report include cleanup workers, doctors, industry leaders, federally contracted divers, government officials, and Gulf Coast residents.
“Conclusions from the report strongly suggest that the dispersant Corexit was widely applied in the aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon explosion because it caused the false impression that the oil disappeared,” a GAP summary of the report states. “In reality, the oil/Corexit mixture became less visible, yet much more toxic than the oil alone.”
“Nonetheless, indications are that both BP and the government were pleased with what Corexit accomplished,” GAP states.
BP dumped nearly 2 million gallons of Corexit EC9500A and Corexit EC9527A on the oil spill. About 60 percent of the chemicals were sprayed on top of the slick from airplanes, while the rest was injected into the oil geyser at the well head about a mile beneath the surface in an application that had never been tested or approved before.
According to Newsweek, 19 months after the Deepwater Horizon exploded, “a scientific study published in the peer-reviewed journal Environmental Pollution found that crude oil becomes 52 times more toxic when combined with Corexit.”
According to GAP, some of the key findings of its Corexit study include:
• Many cleanup workers and Gulf residents experienced serious health problems, coined “BP Syndrome,” exhibiting symptoms such as blood in urine, kidney damage, liver damage, memory loss and temporary paralysis, among many other serious afflictions.
• BP’s failure to protect its own workers, ordering them not to wear protective gear for public relations purposes, and wrongfully assuring them of their safety working in highly toxic environments.
• Ecological problems and food safety issues, including major concerns over seafood deformities and a massive decrease in reported catch from fishermen.
• BP’s massive faults in employee compensation, denying every single health claim brought by employees to its Gulf Coast Claims Fund.
GAP Legal Director Tom Devine, who co-authored the report, said that “The price for making the spill appear invisible has been deadly. It is time to stop covering up the truth about the deadly effects of the chemical cover-up Corexit. This report is a people’s history to rebut a false advertising blitz by BP, enabled by government collusion. Gulf workers and residents who are still suffering deserve justice, and the public deserves the truth.”
Too read the full report, go to http://www.whistleblower.org/program-areas/public-health/corexit