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View Diary: BP's Gulf Oil Spill Was Worse Than You Thought (100 comments)

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  •  It's more than sinking the oil, it's making it (13+ / 0-)

    highly soluble by mixing it with a shitload of very strong detergents, so you get molecular-level dispersion of all of the evil things in the hellbrew called crude oil, mobilized by detergent molecules that can bridge cell membranes and cell walls of life forms that encounter the detergent+crude.

    The organic solvents in the Corexits they used are just components of oil: kerosenes and 2-butoxyethanol. Much, much worse stuff in the crude itself, including carcinogenic benzene and xylenes.

    Fight them to the end, until the children of the poor eat better than the dogs of the rich.

    by raincrow on Tue Apr 23, 2013 at 09:34:55 PM PDT

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    •  Confused (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      raincrow, mrkvica, BlackSheep1

      So Corexit contains kerosenes and 2-butoxyethanol?

      Or the result with the oil does? I knew they said some glycols at the time.

      Other than that, I agree that the bad effects go way beyond just sinking the oil. It's what the oil does once sunk.

      It rubs the loofah on its skin or else it gets the falafel again.

      by Fishgrease on Wed Apr 24, 2013 at 01:52:08 AM PDT

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      •  The former. (1+ / 0-)
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        Corexit contains petroleum distillates as well.  Not sure in what percentages.

      •  It depends on the Corexit (there are several) (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mrkvica, erush1345, tacet, KenBee

        I'd have to go back to all of our blowout diaries to find it, but they specified the 2 Corexits they used, I looked up their advertisements and MSDS sheets, as well as oilworker blogs where people discussed using some of the stuff, and between the two dispersants they contained the same type of detergent used in Dawn and other household cleaning products, propylene glycol ("pet-safe[r]" antifreeze) and other glycols (detergent boosters to help keep deterged molecules in suspension), unspecified petroleum distillates that someone who'd used them characterized as smelling like kerosene (which is a jim-dandy oil solvent, and eventually biodegradable aerobically and anaerobically), and 2-butoxyethanol (a commercial degreaser and solvent, used in spray paints, bug & tar remover, glass cleaners, penetrating oils, Gunk Orange, leather car interior cleaner, Purple Power car wash & bong cleaner, all kinds of things, godawful stuff for humans and other higher organisms).

        Here is info:

        All oil spills leave stuff that sinks. The volatile fractions evaporate, the lighter fractions float and contaminate beaches and are biodegraded aerobically, the mid-weight stuff does we-don't-know-so-much (I seem to remember it was found shockingly far away from the blowout, perhaps because of the detergent), and the heavy stuff sinks. The natural tar balls on the Gulf and Pacific coasts that are so difficult to get off your feet are bits of sunken heavy fractions. This is a humongous spill so goddess only knows the extent of that giant tar mat. All of the components of the Corexit are ultimately biodegradable by numerous aerobic and anaerobic bacteria, whereas the sunken tars persist (and are eventually covered by sediments and taken out of the bio-game).

        But disperse a lot of these fractions into microdroplets and nanodroplets with detergents that can carry these oil molecules long distances, and transport them across cell membranes of organisms the droplets contact, and/or breach or rupture the cell membranes. This would present increased opportunity for all kinds of organisms to ingest or adsorb petroleum fractions in ways they wouldn't adsort or ingest bigger globs of undispersed oil, with the added potential for detergent molecules to poke random holes in membranes. Doesn't sound good to me.

        Probably the best thing that could happen to the deepwater areas would be a monstrous Cat 5 hurricane, which would mix highly oxygenated surface water hundreds of meters deep, reducing the size of dead zones and stimulating another round of aerobic degradation of whatever's still down there that's lighter than tar. Of course that would be utter disaster for the lacy nothing that is the remaining LA wetlands, and for Gulf beaches, and Gulf human habitations, so wishing for THAT is a distinct no-no.

        Fight them to the end, until the children of the poor eat better than the dogs of the rich.

        by raincrow on Wed Apr 24, 2013 at 08:35:13 AM PDT

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