By Maryann Tobin
When you pour more than a million gallons of toxic chemical dispersants on top of an oil spill, it doesn’t just disappear. In this case, it moves to the atmosphere, where it will travel hundreds, if not thousands of miles from the site of the BP oil spill, in the form of toxic rain.
BP’s oil spill-fighting dispersant of choice is Corexit 9500. It has been banned in Europe for good reason. Corexit 9500 is one of the most environmentally enduring, toxic chemical dispersants ever created to battle an oil spill. Add to that the millions of gallons of oil that have been burned, releasing even more toxins into the atmosphere, and you have a recipe for something much worse than acid rain.
Oil in the environment is toxic at 11 PPM (parts per million). Corexit 9500 is toxic at only 2.61 PPM. But Corexit 9500 has another precarious characteristic; it’s reaction to warm water.
As the water in the Gulf of Mexico heats up, Corexit 9500 goes through a molecular transition. It changes from a liquid to a gas, which is readily absorbed by clouds and released as toxic rain. The chemical-laden rain then falls on crops, reservoirs, animals and of course, people.
What makes ‘Corexit rain’ so frightening are the carcinogens it will leave behind on everything is touches. Acid rain will be considered genial after it is inevitably replaced by the far more virulent ‘Corexit rain.’
It is futile to believe that we can keep ‘Corexit rain’ from occurring - it has already been released and the molecular transformation has begun. We have set off an unprecedented chain of events in nature that we cannot control.
By releasing Pandora’s well from the depths and allowing it bleed into the sea at a rate of 2.5 million gallons of oil a day, the unimaginable becomes material.
Yet unlike a bad dream, we will not wake up from this nightmare and find it gone. The BP Gulf of Mexico oil spill will be touching millions of earth’s life forms for uncountable years.
The toxic rain mentioned in the clip may already be with us:
What we need are severe restrictions (bans) on the use of highly toxic chemicals such as the dispersants highlighted in the story. The ineffective regulators need to be kicked out and new people hired with the courage to challenge the big corporations. If we don't get some real change here we'll end up in a horror future world.
[Posted at the SpookyWeather blog, June 26th, 2010.]