BP oil spill: Obama administration’s scientists admit alarm over chemicals

Tuesday, August 3, 2010
By Paul Martin

Environmental Protection Agency experts expressed concerns to superiors about use of dispersants, says whistleblower group

Suzanne Goldenberg
Guardian.co.uk
Tuesday 3 August 2010

The Obama administration is facing internal dissent from its scientists for approving the use of huge quantities of chemical dispersants to tackle the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the Guardian has learned.

The US Environmental Protection Agency has come under attack in Congress and from independent scientists for allowing BP to spray almost 2m gallons of the dispersant Corexit on to the slick and, even more controversially, into the leak site 5,000ft below the sea. Now it emerges that EPA’s own experts have been raising similar concerns within the agency.

Jeff Ruch, the exective director of the whistleblower support group Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, said he had heard from five scientists and two other officials who had expressed concerns to their superiors about the use of dispersants.

“There was one toxicologist who was very concerned about the underwater application particularly,” he said. “The concern was the agency appeared to be flying blind and not consulting its own specialists and even the literature that was available.”

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