Allison Kilkenny: Unreported

Did Exxon know the primary ingredient in Corexit is very toxic?

Posted in BP, corporations, environment, offshore drilling, United States by allisonkilkenny on June 15, 2010

A worker sprays dispersants into the ocean

Exxon researchers have already admitted that its dispersant products, Corexit 9527A and Corexit 9500A, are significantly toxic for aquatic life. But no one knew how toxic the chemicals are for humans. John Sheffield, president of Alabaster Corporation, which makes Sea Brat 4, a safer, less toxic alternative to Corexit, contacted me with accusations that he believes Exxon has known for quite a while that the primary ingredient in Corexit is very toxic.

He included the material safety data sheets for various Corexit products and documents issued from the companies involved to support his claims, which I have pasted below (pdf). In some cases, I have included screen shots from outside sources (CITGO, for example) to bolster Sheffield’s claims.

This gets a little dense, but the key word to look out for is”Norpar,” Exxon’s line of solvants.

Sheffield writes:

This product (Norpar) is basically kerosene. Although kerosene and napthalene (cigarette lighter fluid) are typically the main ingredients.

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BP using toxic dispersants despite availability of safer alternatives

Posted in corporations, politics by allisonkilkenny on May 26, 2010

A beach after an oil spill.
This afternoon I spoke with John Sheffield, president of Alabaster Corporation, which makes Sea Brat 4, a safer, less toxic alternative to Corexit, the chemical dispersant BP is currently using in the Gulf.

Sheffield voiced his frustration that — despite the fact that Sea Brat is safer than Corexit, ready to be shipped, EPA-approved, and his company is capable of producing enough product to cope with the spill — BP has decided to instead go with Corexit.

He blames the Corexit monopoly on the fact that one of the board members of Nalco (the company that makes Corexit) is Rodney F. Chase, a former BP board member. This cozy relationship with BP provides Nalco with unique access to the big business of oil spill cleanup, Sheffield says.

Additionally, switching to Sea Brat would basically entail BP acknowledging that they’ve known about a safer dispersant alternative for decades, and despite the UK banning Corexit, and now the EPA requesting BP find a safer dispersant, BP decided to press forth with a chemical that bears a “striking molecular resemblance to anti-freeze.”

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