When oil started pouring into the Gulf of Mexico, everyone knew it would lead to an environmental disaster. The damage was so severe that BP was asked to pay a record $4.5 billion fine for their role in the spill. However terrible the spill was, it might only have been the tip of the iceberg. A study recently released by researchers at Georgia Tech found that the cleanup process might have made the disaster even worse. In fact, they say it may be 52 times worse.
Over the course of the three months that oil was flooding into the Gulf of Mexico, 4.9 billion gallons of oil spilled. In order to clean it up, two million gallons of oil dispersant were used. According to the study, the mixture of oil and dispersant made the spill 52 times more toxic.
The study, published in the journal Environmental Pollution, came to this conclusion by looking at rotifers, a kind of microscopic organism that exists at the bottom of the Gulf’s food chain. The researchers used rotifers because they are very sensitive to toxicity and react quickly to changes in environment.
Researchers found that when rotifers were exposed to oil-dispersant mixtures, they died extremely quickly. They also found that as little as 2.6 percent of the oil-dispersant mixture was enough to reduce the number of rotifer eggs that hatched by 50 percent. The finding is problematic for the region because rotifers hatch each spring and are a major food source for baby fish, shrimp and crabs.
Researchers say that though dispersants have been used before, scientists have a poor understanding of their toxicity. They also think it’s possible that the danger of such dispersants have been greatly underestimated. The study could not conclude that the benefits of using such dispersants outweighed the substantial costs that come with increasing the toxicity of the surrounding environment. The group concluded that it might even be better to allow oil to naturally disperse.
If you’ve been impacted by the BP oil spill, don’t hesitate to contact the Mississippi oil spill attorneys at Kobs & Philley at toll free (601) 856-7800. Currently, we are accepting VOO claims, claims for Commercial Fisherman, claims for Recreational Fisherman, claims for Personal Lost Income and Business Lost Income, and claims for Owners of Waterfront Property. Call us today to ensure that you are not left behind and we will fight to get you the compensation you deserve!
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