EPA Releases Dispersant Test Results

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis and more, subscribe to Mother Jones' newsletters.


The EPA just released the first round of results from its ongoing testing of dispersants. The agency has been studying at the short- and long-term impacts of Corexit, the type of dispersant BP has been using in massive quantities in the Gulf, and seven alternative products. Here’s the agency’s conclusion:

EPA’s results indicated that none of the eight dispersants tested, including the product in use in the Gulf, displayed biologically significant endocrine disrupting activity. While the dispersant products alone—not mixed with oil—have roughly the same impact on aquatic life, JD-2000 and Corexit 9500 were generally less toxic to small fish and JD-2000 and SAF-RON GOLD were least toxic to mysid shrimp.

The release includes this key caveat, however: “While this is important information to have, additional testing is needed to further inform the use of dispersants.” This is only the “first stage” of testing, the agency said.

The agency also upheld their directive last month that BP reduce the use of dispersants in the Gulf, noting that “EPA believes BP should use as little dispersant as necessary.” (BP has not been meeting the agency’s goals, however.)

“We want to ensure that every tool is available to mitigate the impact of the BP spill and protect our fragile wetlands,” said EPA administrator Lisa Jackson in a statement. “But we continue to direct BP to use dispersants responsibly and in as limited an amount as possible.”

The next phase of EPA’s testing will assess the acute toxicity of multiple concentrations of Louisiana Sweet Crude Oil alone and in combinations with each of the eight dispersants.

THE BIG PICTURE

You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

THE BIG PICTURE

You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate

We have a new comment system! We are now using Coral, from Vox Media, for comments on all new articles. We'd love your feedback.