EPA Orders Less Toxic Chemical Dispersants in Oil Spill Cleanup

Friday, May 21, 2010

NASA recently released pictures showing the view from space of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. (NASA)

The Environmental Protection Agency has given BP 24 hours to find a less toxic chemical dispersant to break up the oil gushing from their ruined pipeline in the Gulf of Mexico. These dispersants are used to break up the crude into droplets that will sink into the water, making them more easily diluted by ocean currents and less likely to threaten shoreline ecoystems or marine life on the surface.

However, many experts wonder if dispersants should be used at all. Elisabeth Rosenthal, environmental writer for The New York Times, explains the reversal and why it comes after the EPA already allowed the company to spray nearly 700,000 gallons of the potentially toxic chemical into the sea.


Elisabeth Rosenthal

Produced by:

Hsi-Chang Lin

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