Seven Facts About COREXIT 9500 OIl Dispersant
Following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico on April 20, Nalco was called upon by the response team to provide Corexit 9500 to help minimize the effects of the incident on the shoreline and other sensitive marine sites, because it is EPA-approved, safe, effective, and has a long history of successful use.
1. The EPA continues to state that the use of Nalco’s dispersants has been effective and has not significantly affected the marine environment.
- As the EPA noted on its website on May 27, “toxicity data does not indicate any significant effects on aquatic life. Moreover, decreased size of the oil droplets is a good indication that, so far, the dispersant is effective” in the Deepwater Horizon response.
- The EPA analysis came as a result of aggressive monitoring that is being conducted by BP in the Gulf of Mexico.
- In a May 24 press conference, EPA Administrator Jackson stated, “Our tracking indicates that the dispersants are breaking up the oil and speeding its biodegradation, with limited environment impact.”
- USCG Rear Admiral Mary Landry echoed Administrator Jackson’s statement by saying Corexit has prevented “much more” highly toxic oil from reaching US shorelines.
2. All of the ingredients contained in Nalco’s dispersants are safe and found in common household products, such as food, packaging, cosmetics, and household cleaners.
- Individually and collectively the ingredients are safe when used as directed.
- Corexit is approved for use by the EPA because it falls well within the agency’s range of allowable toxicity levels.
- Corexit products biodegrade rapidly, do not bioaccumulate, are not human carcinogens, do not degrade into endocrine disruptors, and are not reproductive toxins.
- Environment Canada studies show that Corexit 9500 is more than 25 times as safe as common dishwashing liquid.
- The amount of dispersants in the Gulf equal about 30 parts per billion when dispersed across the area of the oil slick and to the 10 meter depth the dispersants will spread oil through.
o This is 1/10th of 1 percent of the level of the product tested under EPA standards and a far lower level than the EPA allows in drinking water of several non-biodegradable elements that are highly toxic, carcinogenic, and/or reproductive toxins.
- On May 24, Administrator Jackson stated, “we know that dispersants are less toxic than oil” and that “the number one enemy is the oil.”
3. Since the oil spill on April 20, Nalco has been providing dispersants to responders at their request.
- Soon after oil began leaking, the government requested dispersants to help minimize the effects of the accident.
- We immediately shipped our stocked supply, and increased production in order to respond to requests.
- The response effort is being led by the Coast Guard, NOAA, EPA, Department of the Interior, in conjunction with BP.
- These responders are continually consulting with on-the-ground response teams to make decisions related to the use of dispersants.
- These response officials make the determination of how and when dispersants are utilized, based on factors such as weather, sea conditions, and the composition of oil.
4. The Nalco dispersants being used to break apart the oil have been used for over 20 years to successfully combat oil spills, both domestically and internationally.
- No other dispersant on the EPA approval list has as long a track record of safe and effective use.
- Our dispersants are used in over 30 countries, including Australia, Norway, and Canada, in response to oil spills.
- Our dispersants are meant to be used at sea – away from the shoreline.
5. Our sole focus is to help the responders mitigate this incident, and improve the outlook for those who live along the Gulf Coast. We have been in the water, oil, and gas treatment business for over 80 years, and dispersants are a very small part of our business.
- Because of the highly unusual Gulf response, sales of our dispersants are at a level equivalent to approximately 1 percent of expected 2010 Company revenues.
- Recognizing the broad impact of the spill on the Gulf region, Nalco will donate $2 million of its sales to the Nalco Foundation, which the Foundation has committed to using to support organizations conducting relief and clean-up efforts.
- We believe it is our corporate responsibility to respond to requests to minimize the effects of the spill, as well as to assist those who live along the Gulf and derive their livelihood from the region.
6. Corexit is an effective dispersant that works by bonding to the oil molecules and separating them from water molecules – thus breaking up the oil.
- In other words, the process works like dishwashing soap that breaks apart oil and water in a kitchen sink.
- In the ocean, they break down oil into droplets that mix with seawater. The droplets are then digested by naturally occurring micro-organisms.
- Dispersants inhibit oil from forming a slick and make oil less likely to stick to animals, shoreline rocks, and vegetation.
- Dispersants are usually used on the surface of the ocean and distributed by aircraft flying over an oil spill.
- Responders recently began injecting dispersants directly into the stream of oil emerging from the ocean floor. The EPA approved this tactic after conducting testing and analysis and continues to monitor air and water conditions in the Gulf and has found no harm caused by dispersants.
7. As the government explores the use of alternative dispersants, Nalco remains fully committed to remediation efforts in the Gulf.
- We are cooperating fully with the government during this process and plan to continue assisting in any way we can.
- In fact, Nalco has facilitated the trials of other products by providing its dispersant delivery equipment to responders.
- We support a science-based process for determining the best solution to mitigate this disaster. Still, we believe strongly in the safety and effectiveness of our product.