United States, TX, Fort Worth
Joined Jan 2009
BP: Disperse THIS!
BP pours it on as a good corporate citizen of the world. Sorry for this, doing their best with that, got you covered, never saw it coming.
Well that last part was a lie, they knew their equipment was faulty before it demonstrated itself to be so. "Got you covered", can't argue with that, their schlop is all over 5 states and spreading.
But what about this dispersant, the two variants of "Corexit"? How's that coming? Well worse than you might think.
Firstoff, Corexit is a BP product, made by a BP/Exxon holding company. There's a far superior product, Dispersit, which is twice as effective on Louisiana crude and 1/10th as toxic. But they get Corexit below free. They sell it to themselves and get a tax credit for using it.
What is it? I spent 2 years as a hobby emulsion chemist, so this is an informed-lay overview. It's hair-of-the-dog petroleum distallates, in lay language, kerosene, to soften the crude where the other stuff can get at it. Then it's an organic sulfate, closely akin to what's in Tide. Detergent and toxic. And a scoshi of propylene glycol, which I've worked with. It's a high-boiling-point alcohol, low toxicity, found in processed foods, the foundation of pet-safe antifreeze replacing its toxic cousin ethylene glycol. Oil is soluble in alcohol and alcohol is soluble in water, so that makes it an emulsifier.
What does it do? It disperses the oil throughout the entire body of water in small globlets you might not notice walking along the beach. That emulsion can last 10 years or more. The oil is very much still there, it's just less obvious when it comes to shore damage liability. Oh, and it makes the oil impossible to recover, to actually clean, because it's rendered neutrally buoyant so it doesn't float where you can scoop it up.
New corporate slogan: "BP. Making bad things worse."
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