Corexit 9500 is the chemical dispersant used by British Petroleum (BP) in the Gulf Oil Spill. The Nalco scientist maintains it's safer than household dish soap, less toxic than ice cream. Report from KTRK, Houston (5.27.10)
As more oil workers fall sick with the increased use of chemical dispersants the contrast with how BP and the company which makes the dispersant being used could not be more stark.
I'm not a chemist so I can't vouch for the veracity of the claim made that Corexit is safer than dish soap. Perhaps it is for fish and sea life. However, I've rarely washed my dishes while wearing protective gloves, respiratory masks, and eye protection as Nalco (the company that makes it) requires for those handling or around the substance. And the British don't seem to think much of the stuff, having banned it for use in the North Sea. Something about causing headaches, vomiting and reproductive issues.
In the clip above a Nalco scientist maintains the safety of the product (noting while wearing the protective gear). And in fact on their website Nalco takes great pains to make the
toxic shit stuff sound as innocuous as possible:
Corexit contains six primary ingredients. Examples of everyday products with specific ingredients in common with COREXIT 9500 include:
• One ingredient is used as a wetting agent in dry gelatin, beverage mixtures, and fruit juice drinks.
• A second ingredient is used in a brand-name dry skin cream and also in a body shampoo.
• A third ingredient is found in a popular brand of baby bath liquid.
• A fourth ingredient is found extensively in cosmetics and is also used as a surface-active agent and emulsifier for agents used in food contact.
• A fifth ingredient is used by a major supplier of brand name household cleaning products for "soap scum" removal.
• A sixth ingredient is used in hand creams and lotions, odorless paints and stain blockers.
Although there are less toxic dispersants available they aren't being used because of the unprecedented volumes used in the Gulf spill, now said to be well over 1,000,000 gallons.