Public Lab Research note

[GMC] [reference] on the need to monitor for Persistant Dispersant chemicals

by eustatic | June 25, 2014 18:23 25 Jun 18:23 | #10614 | #10614

Industry and US Government may be wrong on dispersant Corexit

"During the 2010 Deepwater Horizon (DWH) oil spill 1.84 M gallons of chemical dispersant were applied to oil released in the sub-surface and to oil slicks at the surface. We used liquid chromatography with tandem mass spectrometry (LC/MS/MS) to quantify the anionic surfactant DOSS (dioctyl sodium sulfosuccinate) in samples collected from environments known to contain oil persisting from the DWH oil spill. DOSS was found to persist in variable quantities in deep-sea coral communities (6-9000 ng/g) 6 months after the spill, and on Gulf of Mexico beaches (1-260 ng/g) 26-45 months after the spill. These results indicate that the applied dispersant, which was thought to undergo rapid degradation in the water column, remains associated with oil in the environment and can persist for ~4 years."

Long-Term Persistence of Dispersants following the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill

Long-Term Persistence of Dispersants following the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill

Helen K. White *†, Shelby L. Lyons †, Sarah J. Harrison †, David M. Findley †, Yina Liu ‡, and Elizabeth B. Kujawinski ‡ † Department of Chemistry, Haverford College, 370 Lancaster Avenue, Haverford, Pennsylvania 19041, United States ‡ Department of Marine Chemistry and Geochemistry, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, Massachusetts 02543, United States Environ. Sci. Technol. Lett., Article ASAP DOI: 10.1021/ez500168r Publication Date (Web): June 23, 2014 Copyright © 2014 American Chemical Society

Questions and next steps

Can we develop a screening method with the alpha kit and a bunch of tar balls?

Why I'm interested

This issue should be elevated. Dispersant use should be regulated more scientifically, but to push EPA to do that will take citizens monitoring for themselves. Federal judges have not ruled in citizens' favor to push EPA to study dispersants.


we can source UV lights in the 370nm band-- they're expensive, but not THAT expensive. we might also be able to get some free samples from a manufacturer.

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I think the 405 nm ones may be enough -- this looks like fluorescence just like crude oil, so we'd only be measuring >400nm light anyways. The image in the paper from Scott's original post cites 517, 559 and 577nm as important wavelengths to watch - those are in the green range, actually the region our spectrometer does best!


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