Using Dispersants

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Friday, February 25, 2011 - 10:16am

VALDEZ, Ak (NBC33) - Corexit is a dispersant used to break up oil.  It didn't take long for it to become a hot topic in the Crisis on the Coast.   Almost 2 million gallons of it was used in the Gulf of Mexico.

Over 20 years ago in the Exxon Valdez spill, it wasn't used that much because of concerns with the weather.

John Allen grew up in the Prince William Sound area and has studied the effects of dispersants.  He says the light use in the sound wasn't a bad thing.

"It takes an ambitious man and turns them into a couch potato", he says.

The EPA says some of the ingredients in Corexit are toxic, and asked BP to use something different in the Gulf.  Meanwhile, the Alaska Community Action on Toxics says the stuff caused a list of problems to people who are exposed - including respiratory problems and liver disorders.

Allen says corexit shouldn't be used in cleaning up the next spill.

To be fair - a list of dispersants are available during a spill - some are more toxic and less effective that corexit.

Tuesday on NBC33 News at 10:00 - we continue our special series by going back into the sound with the first civilian responder to the spill.  What that day 20 years was like - how he deals with the new normal, and advice he has for people in the Gulf down the road.  That's Tuesday on NBC33 News at 10:00

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