As we reported at the time, the EPA allowed BP to dump mass quantities of a highly-toxic chemical into the Gulf of Mexico in order to help BP hide the amount of oil in the Gulf … and to help to cover up what was really going on.
Last month, 60 Minutes made a fantastic exposé on the whole shenanigan.
We contacted Gulf toxicologist Dr. Susan Shaw – Founder and Director of the Marine Environmental Research Institute – for comment. Background on Dr. Shaw’s involvement with the BP oil spill here and here.
Dr. Shaw told Washington’s Blog:
It was refreshing to see such a strong public statement about what really happened in the Gulf of Mexico.
I was the first scientist to dive in the oil slick after the Deepwater Horizon explosion in 2010. As a member of DOI’s [the U.S. Department of the Interior’s] Strategic Sciences Working Group (SSWG) and a TEDx speaker, I alerted federal agency heads and the public about the combined toxicity of Corexit and oil, and predicted much of the terrible human suffering and environmental damage we are seeing in the Gulf today. The Australian 60 Minutes report takes the viewer up close to the victims, Gulf residents and cleanup workers whose health problems are overwhelming and who will not recover, ever. As a public health professional, I interviewed residents of Grand Isle LA (“ground zero”) and experienced first hand what we now call the “Gulf syndrome” – they had blinding headaches, memory loss, heart palpitations, internal bleeding, swollen livers, and skin lesions. Some had been sprayed directly with Corexit, often by planes flying at night. One was a 14 year old school girl who had periodic bleeding from her ears. As a scientist, I was stunned at the depth of suffering, the bewilderment, the loss.
Covering up the oil spill with Corexit was a deadly action that resulted in a tragedy our society should never repeat. For the federal government to make Corexit’s application the standard operating procedure for offshore oil spills is unacceptable. It is outrageous.
The danger and the duplicity of using Corexit to contain oil spills. Scientists know very well how toxic the mixture is. What happened in the Gulf was a political act, an act of cowardice and greed. It is time for Americans to know the truth.
Unfortunately, the government has a habit of covering up disasters – including not only oil spills, but everything from nuclear accidents to financial problems – instead of actually fixing the problems so that they won’t happen again.