Federal Testing Proves Dispersants Safe, Effective

As government responders and Gulf Coast relief teams continue their efforts to clean up the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill, further federal testing has concluded that the use of the COREXIT dispersant remains a safe, effective, and critical tool in mitigating additional damage in the Gulf.

The government has established several systems and methods for detecting any health impact of the oil spill and dispersant use, such as facilitating mobile health units to measure and assess exposure. According to testimony given this week at two Congressional committees by Dr. Lisa Kaplowitz, a deputy assistant secretary at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, "To date none of these systems has documented any evidence of an increase in conditions that could be related to oil or dispersant exposure."

The most recent data posted on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency website shows that the current testing for dispersants has turned up no evidence of residual dispersant chemicals at the Louisiana shore, stating, "Surface water results collected on May 22 and 23, 2010, at 10 stations along the coast of Louisiana were measured for two of the chemicals associated with dispersants, but did not detect either one."

The EPA posting went on to say, "To date, the toxicity data does not indicate any significant effects on aquatic life. Moreover, decreased size of the oil droplets is a good indication that, so far, the dispersant is effective. We are closely watching the dissolved oxygen levels, which so far remain in the normal range."

"We are pleased that ongoing federal study continues to validate the use of COREXIT dispersant as a safe and effective resource in diminishing environmental damage from oil in the Gulf," stated Dr. Mani Ramesh, Chief Technology Officer for Nalco. "There is no reason to believe that any dispersant has reached shore. The use of the dispersant has had no impact on marine life. These latest tests underscore previous findings that show COREXIT rapidly biodegrades and does not bio-accumulate."

Dr. Ramesh added, "The oil continues to be the primary hazard in the Gulf -- for workers, wildlife and vegetation. Dispersants have prevented more oil from reaching our shorelines."

In addition, Nalco remains committed to full transparency of its product, and recently the U.S. EPA published the ingredients of COREXIT on its website. Nalco reached an agreement to provide Louisiana officials responsible for health and environmental protection with more extensive information on its COREXIT dispersants, including the dispersant percent formulation. Nalco is willing to provide the same formulation information to other state officials in other Gulf Coast states using the same terms as those established by the State of Louisiana.

"We strongly believe that the public is best served if both federal and state regulators have access to this information, and we are committed to working with other state officials to establish similar agreements so they can access this information if they deem it helpful," Dr. Ramesh said.