Dispersant Use: The Web of Death


If you caught the Lisa Myers dispersant report on NBC Nightly News Friday evening (see “Featured Video”), you may have noticed that she mentioned a consensus letter calling for a halt to using toxic dispersants like the one BP pumped onto its runaway well. It’s worth noting that the consensus letter is being organized by a group of scientists that includes Dr. Susan Shaw, a Maine-based researcher who has what may be a unique qualification among her fellow scientists – she has watched the process in person.

An experienced diver, Dr. Shaw went scuba-diving into a dispersant-laden oil slick so she could watch the oil break down. She says the dive did make her sick (literally), but that symptoms have since gone away, at least for now.

Dr. Shaw offered an interesting presentation of her findings, which uses information that Exxon took from its Valdez spill, during a talk in Washington D.C., recently. She does an excellent job, using Exxon’s information, of explaining how we traded a surface spill for an underwater disaster of unknown magnitude. She calls it “the web of death” and predicts “we have not begun to see the impacts” of the spill.

You can see her presentation here: http://www.ted.com/talks/susan_shaw_the_oil_spill_s_toxic_trade_off.html

Images courtesy of Jerry Moran, photographer (www.nativeorleanian.com) and member of the Louisiana Environmental Action Network (LEAN – www.leanweb.org).

© Smith Stag, LLC 2010 – All Rights Reserved

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Stuart H. Smith is an attorney based in New Orleans fighting major oil companies and other polluters.
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