Chemicals used to fight BP spill were ineffective and toxic, study says

The undersea use of chemical dispersants during the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil disaster likely did more harm than good, a new study says.

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A University of Miami-led study indicates that the massive amounts of dispersants BP applied directly at the spewing wellhead – about a mile below the Gulf of Mexico’s surface – failed to curb the oil’s spread, and may have increased the disaster’s ecological damage.

The explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig released more than 200 million gallons of crude oil, making it the largest oil spill in U.S. history. About 770,000 gallons of the dispersant Corexit was applied at the wellhead. Another 1 million gallons was sprayed over the massive slick on the water’s surface. Dispersants loosen the tension between oil and water, allowing the oil to break up into smaller droplets. It was hoped that dispersants would lessen the disaster’s impact.

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