In a recent New York Times’ article “Less Toxic Dispersants Lose Out in BP Oil Spill Cleanup”, journalist Paula Quinlan questions why BP is using the 100 % toxic, 54 percent effective dispersant Corexit to clean up the oil when twelve other dispersants proved more effective in EPA testing.
BP spokesman Jon Pack defended the use of Corexit, which he said was decided in consultation with EPA. He called Corexit "pretty effective" and said the product had been "rigorously tested."
"I'm not sure about the others," Pack said. "This has been used by a number of major companies as an effective, low-toxicity dispersant."
BP is not considering or testing other dispersants because the company's attention is focused on plugging the leak and otherwise containing the spill, Pack said. "That has to be our primary focus right now," he said.
Nalco spokesman Charlie Pajor said the decision on what to use was out of his company's hands. He also declined to comment on EPA comparison tests, saying only that lab conditions cannot necessarily replicate those in the field. "The decision about what's used is made by others -- not by us," he said.
Quinlan only looks at part of the picture. She associates BP’s investment in Nalco and oil industry representation on the board as the main reasons that Corexit was used instead of Dispirsit, which EPA testing shows to be twice as effective and a third less toxic. Yes, BP is hedging its losses with the profit it will make with its investment in Nalco, but who else benefits?