Oil Spill Dispersants Yield Mixed Results

Chemicals used in the Gulf of Mexico to stem the flow of oil were only partially effective, according to an in-depth study.

Marine chemists at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution said the dispersants were successful in keeping some of the crude from the blown BP oil well from reaching the surface, where it could do the most damage. However, chemicals did not break up the oil as quickly as scientists had expected.

The chemicals seemed to remain in the deep waters longer than anticipated, marine chemist Elizabeth Kujawinski said in the study. This raises troubling questions about long-term environmental exposure.

The study was published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology.

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