Friday, July 2, 2010

What you don't know can't hurt you, part II

After Gulf swimmers report illness, questions about opening a beach

In which swimmers went back in the water after the oil slick disappeared. And then they all got sick. The idea is that the oil made them sick. And every major news story I've seen in which swimmers or laborers who came into contact with the water got sick has unquestioningly suggested that it's the oil in the water that's making people sick.

But what about the millions and millions of gallons of Corexit that have been dumped into the water as an oil dispersant? It's interesting that the mainstream media isn't suggesting that perhaps this chemical dispersant could have anything to do with the reported problems. After all, there have been no toxicity studies done on the current version of Corexit, but a previous one caused respiratory, liver, kidney, and nervous system damage to people who were exposed to it. Then there's the fact that the EPA told BP to stop using Corexit and choose a less toxic alternative instead, but they've refused. Perhaps because the EPA-approved alternatives weren't made by a company that's affiliated with BP like the maker of Corexit is? Who knows. What we do know is that the effects of the current incarnation of Corexit on humans aren't known. We also know that if you listen to the MSM, you'll think that anyone who does get sick after having contact with water from the Gulf is sick because of the oil in the water. So I say, by all means, stick your head in the sand. Just choose sand that's not contaminated by either oil or chemical dispersants.


  1. Anonymous7/02/2010

    The impression I've gotten is that most people don't realize the sheer quantity of chemical dispersants that are used on oil spills or what they really do. So the news stories aren't necesarily implying that the oil is the problem, it's just that nobody thinks about other potential (highly likely) problems like the chemicals being deployed.

  2. NotMadMax7/02/2010

    That and people think these things just go away. Both the oil and the dispersant. Or that the dispersant breaks down the oil into some kind of harmless residue. Nothing really ever goes away. It might go somewhere else and take on a different form, but it doesn't go away.

  3. Lizzay7/02/2010

    I've heard that corexit is milder than dish soap. But what does that mean? I don't want to swim in a bay full of Dawn.

  4. Anonymous7/02/2010

    And if it's as mild and nontoxic as it's claimed to be, what's with all the protective gear dude is wearing?

  5. Anonymous7/02/2010

    I think it is pretty clear that it is the dispersant and not the oil that is getting people sick.

  6. Shannigan7/03/2010

    Yeah, I've seen a couple news stories about the dispersant, but mostly they're on environmentalist sites. Most of the mainstream stuff focuses exclusively on the oil.

  7. Anonymous7/03/2010

    The disturbing thing is that generally it takes a good 10-20 years before you really know what effect environmental toxins will have on the human body. So the industry will say "there's no known risks to humans" when they come out with a new product, and that gets translated in the media as "this product is totally safe for humans," which is a very different message.