Topic: The Gulf
From: Nov. 11 2005
Registered: Apr 2009
posted May 19, 2010 08:20 AM
If you saw the video a few days ago of planes spraying dispersant over the Gulf of Mexico and experienced a bad, bad feeling, you are not alone.
Knowing the chemical companies, knowing the `practices` for deeming chemicals safe to ingest, paint on our faces, spray on the lawn, or keep from getting sunburned. Throwing chemicals at a disaster was bound to be bad...how bad is it?
Dirty Hands: Nalco owned IBT Labs
Published by Eric Francis
The other day I got curious to see what these dispersants were that were being dumped into the Gulf of Mexico — the ones that can break down crude oil. I had a hunch I would find my information, footnoted, right in Wikipedia, and I did. What I was not expecting was for this information to point back to one of the most horrendous scandals in the history of science.
Crude oil from the gulf is reddish brown, not black. It contains high levels of sulfur and probably iron. It is not what you would call 'light, sweet crude'. Nalco chemicals are being used to break down the oil, spreading it into ocean currents.
“On May 1 two United States Department of Defense C-130 Hercules aircraft were employed to spray oil dispersant. The main oil dispersants used were two forms of Corexit 9500 and 9527, made by the Nalco Holding Company, Naperville, Illinois.”
So — the military is involved; unless they lease their jets out to private industry.
It continued: “By May 15, 436,000 gallons of Corexit EC9500A and EC9527A had been released into the Gulf. Though these products were neither the least toxic nor the most effective among the dispersants approved by the EPA, they had been stockpiled in advance by BP and were available for immediate use, possibly because of close business relationships between Nalco, BP, and Exxon.”
Nalco’s shares went up when BP announced that it was buying all available reserves of Corexit even though better chemicals exist for this purpose.
I sent this information to Carol van Strum, a Planet Waves editor who has been involved with exposing the chemical industry since the 1970s, and with whom I have worked since 1993.
“[Expletive deleted] — they’re spraying friggin’ antifreeze on the water! Have you ever seen an animal that’s ingested even a tiny bit of antifreeze? It’s fatal and causes a long, painful death and there is no antidote. Haven’t looked at the other ingredients but propylene glycol alone is enough to poison the whole Gulf.”
Well, spraying “indiscriminately from the skies,” to quote Rachel Carson, and dumping it by the ton — including deep under the water, near the source.
In her next email she said she could not remember who Nalco was, but that they had a connection to dioxin. Five minutes later, she remembered — they were the owners of IBT Labs of Northbrook, Illinois.
some IBT history-let me know if the link is protected
I also covered IBT Labs, which was involved in the PCB scandal at its peak in the 1960s and 1970s. This was one of the most horrendous angles on the PCB issue, since IBT’s fraudulent studies kept the chemical on the market long after the chemical and electrical manufacturers knew that it was deadly.
IBT’s role was to create fake safety data on PCBs that showed how it was non-carcinogenic. The following is from my article Conspiracy of Silence from Sierra magazine, published in August 1994.
At this point, the crisis entered its darkest hour. In order to maintain its 1971 position that “PCBs are not and cannot be classified as highly toxic,” Monsanto engaged Industrial Bio-Test Labs of Northbrook, Illinois, to do safety studies on its Aroclor PCB products.
Seven years later, IBT Labs would be at the center of one of the most far-reaching scandals in modern science, as thousands of its studies were revealed through EPA and FDA investigations to be fraudulent or grossly inadequate.
One of IBT’s top executives was Dr. Paul Wright, a Monsanto toxicologist who took a job at IBT Labs in part to supervise the PCB tests, and then returned to Monsanto. Wright was eventually convicted of multiple counts of fraud in one of the longest criminal trials in U. S. history – with his legal fees paid by Monsanto.
While fraud on the PCB tests was not raised in the IBT trial, it is strongly suggested by memos and letters that came to light in later civil lawsuits. Several of these show how, at Monsanto’s request, IBT Labs customized its studies. “I think we are surprised (and disappointed?) at the apparent toxicity at the levels studied,” Monsanto’s Elmer Wheeler wrote in March 1970 to IBT president Joseph Calandra. “I doubt that there is any explanation for this but I do think that we might exchange some new thoughts.”
In a letter to IBT Labs two months later commenting on a set of PCB test results, Wheeler wrote, “We would hope that we might find a higher ‘no effect’ level with this sample as compared to the previous work.”
In later years, Monsanto’s requests would become even more blatant. “In two instances, the previous conclusion of ’slightly tumorigenic’ was changed to ‘non-carcinogenic,’” Monsanto wrote in July 1975. “The latter phrase is preferable. May we request that the Aroclor 1254 report be amended to say ‘does not appear to be carcinogenic.’”
Two weeks later, Calandra responded: “We will amend our statement in the last paragraph on page 2 of the Aroclor 1254 report to read, ‘does not appear to be carcinogenic’ in place of ’slightly tumorigenic’ as requested.” Testimony about the IBT Labs scandal in a Texas lawsuit against Monsanto indicates that IBT was aware that PCBs caused extremely high numbers of tumors in test rats, with 82 percent developing tumors when fed Aroclor 1254 at 10 parts per million and 100 percent at 100 parts per million. Yet with a stroke of a pen, IBT Labs certified PCBs a noncarcinogen.
Working behind the scenes of such scientific miracles was Paul Wright. In July 1976, after returning to Monsanto, he was given a $1,000 award for “forestalling EPA’s promulgation of unrealistic regulations to limit discharges of polychlorinated biphenyls.” A year later, IBT Labs was found out, and Wright, Calandra, and another IBT exec were eventually convicted of federal fraud charges.
From: Nov. 11 2005
Registered: Apr 2009
posted May 19, 2010 08:22 AM
Why does it always take environmental disasters to enact change and ultimately retribution? Why do lives have to be lost for rapacious greed to meet the wall?
according to wiki, propylene glycol is less toxic to animals and people than older types of antifreeze, but that in a water supply the big issue how much oxygen it requires to biodegrade (far more than raw sewage):
“Propylene glycol is known to exert high levels of biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) during degradation in surface waters. This process can adversely affect aquatic life by consuming oxygen aquatic organisms need to survive. Large quantities of dissolved oxygen (DO) in the water column are consumed when microbial populations decompose ethylene glycol.
The oxygen depletion potential of airport deicing operation discharges is many times greater than that of raw sewage. For example, before application, Type I propylene glycol-based deicing fluid is generally diluted to a mixture containing approximately 50% propylene glycol. Pure propylene glycol has a five-day biochemical oxygen demand (BOD5) concentration of approximately 1,000,000 mg/L. A typical diluted propylene-based deicing fluid could therefore have a BOD5 concentration of approximately 500,000 mg/L. In comparison, raw sewage typically has a BOD5 concentration of approximately 200 mg/L. The amount of fluid used to deice a single jet depends on the nature of the precipitation event and the size of the aircraft but can range from a couple hundred to several thousand gallons. Therefore, deicing a single jet can generate a BOD5 load greater than that of one million gallons of raw sewage. A large hub airport often has several hundred flights each day.
Sufficient DO levels in surface waters are critical for the survival of fish, macroinvertebrates, and other aquatic organisms. If oxygen concentrations drop below a minimum level, organisms emigrate, if able and possible, to areas with higher oxygen levels or eventually die. This effect can drastically reduce the amount of useable aquatic habitat. Reductions in DO levels can reduce or eliminate bottom-feeder populations, create conditions that favor a change in a community’s species profile, or alter critical food-web interactions.”
the footnote for this section leads to a 2009 EPA study of airport deicing: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Propylene_glycol#cite_note-21
National resources Defense Council
Amicus Journal Archives
Registered: Apr 2009
posted May 19, 2010 10:14 AM
and let's not pretend that anyone in the oil business does not KNOW that dispersants are close to the LEAST effective way of cleaning up an oil spill. they are pretty much ALL more toxic than the oil itself.
shall we rename the gulf dead sea II?
mystic mel posted an interesting article on fb the other day regarding daniel costner, kevin's scientist brother, who has invented a filtering device that SEPARATES oil from the water so it can be collected and retrieved. apparently BP weren't interested enough to take a gander...so kevin was taking his star status and money down to louisiana with his brother to demonstrate its effectiveness. of course with enough dispersant in the water it may not work, i dunno enough about it to prophesize...
also interestingly a team of animal rescuers from the bay area headed out there last week to help out and reported that they were NOT seeing any dead animals, hypothesizing that the pressure from the gushing might have warned off a lot of marine life and that open-sea birds were hardly likely to land on an oil slick. that does not help with the smaller slower deeper creatures that may have been around but they were feeling hopeful that the damage will be largely averted by the instinctual reactions of a lot of creatures to just stay away.
at the same time there was talk about some "stuff" showing up around key west with the possible consequence being this stuff being picked up by the gulf stream and heading round the world...nice, eh?
yes you gotta love the "free market" where businesses are "naturally regulated" by people staying away from the bad'uns...even if that means the damage is already done before you know how bad they actually are.
From: Nov. 11 2005
Registered: Apr 2009
posted May 19, 2010 06:18 PM
I was watching the movie a beautiful mind last night and wondering where are the MIT guys? Where are the tools for these rigs? How can an operation with the go ahead for 8,000 ft down not have the science and the tools for catastrophic occurrences at 5,000 ft down? I heard speculation that if Steve Jobs were in charge he would certainly have an oil separator, and a robotic plug.
I also heard that DeepWater has another rig with the same design further out, and deeper.
While listening to this-->
House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee (LIVE)
Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill
Chairman Rep. James Oberstar (D-MN)
• Lamar McKay, president, BP plc
• Steven Newman, president and CEO, Transocean Ltd.
• Lisa P. Jackson, administrator, EPA
• Jane Lubchenco, undersecretary of Commerce for oceans and atmosphere and administrator, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
• S. Elizabeth Birnbaum, director, Minerals Management Service
• Rear Adm. Brian Salerno, assistant commandant for marine safety, security and stewardship, U.S. Coast Guard
• Rear Adm. Peter V. Neffenger, deputy national incident commander for the Deepwater Horizon oil spill response, U.S. Coast Guard
• Sylvia Earle, explorer-in-residence, National Geographic Society
• Larry Schweiger, president and CEO, National Wildlife Federation
on C-Span radio today there was talk (again) about China putting in the rig that has been speculated about for years off the Cuba coast. That's 45mi from Florida.
The more I hear the more I want to
And that includes all the crap from 10 years ago (and earlier) that set this all up. Flags of convenience etc......
Oh, we will put in more rigs. 25% of our oil is in the gulf.
As far as what is visible, and the winged creatures etc. It is the captive audience- the bivalves, crustaceans, and mollusks that will be devastated, if not wiped out.