Environmental Danger: Chemical dispersant are moderately dangerous. Dispersing the oil is considered one of the best ways to protect birds
and keep the slick from making landfall. But the dispersants contain harmful toxins of their own and the dispersants and oil they leave behind
can concentrate leftover oil toxins in the water,where they can kill fish and migrate great distances. The dispersants and oil they leave behind
can also kill fish eggs and fish. Because of oil's capability to float on top of water, less sunlight is able to penetrate into the contaminated water,
(community of animals in ecosystem) populations, affects the food chain in the ecosystem.
Human danger: The chemicals or compounds that are used must be handled with great care in their original form and should not touch the skin
and can damagelungs. Certain acute symptoms were experienced by human are nausea,vomiting,headache, diarrhea, throat irritation,eye pain,
coughing ,choking and dizziness. Some of the potential long-term risks include lung,kidney and liver damage. volunteers are highly at risk during
the process of cleaning because of thelack of extensive training in how to handle these hazardous materials.
Due to controversies over the effects of oil dispersants on the environment, much experimentation has been done comparing the environmental
effects of oil alone, individual dispersants, and combinations of oil and dispersants.One particular study focused on dispersants BP11000X and
Finasol OSR as well as crude oil from Venezuela. The results demonstrated that herring larvae can be anywhere from fifty to one-hundred
times more sensitive to an oil clean up that makes use of dispersants as opposed to letting the oilbreak upnaturally. Symptoms observed in the
red herring larva included abnormal swimming patterns involving spurts of swimming followed by slow,sinking movements.
The Chart displayed above depicts the varying health conditions of herring larvae exposed to different environments including crude oil, crude
oiland finasol, or crude oil and BP 1100X. Note that the darker the column color the more severe the condition of the herring larvae. Looking
at this chart it can be seen how the oil/dispersant combinations actually had more drastic effects on the larvae. According to theexperiment, the
toxicity of a self-dispersed crude oil significantly decreases over the course of 72 hours while use of a dispersant yieldsalmost no improvement
of the toxicity levels. Shown below is an image of normal, healthy herring larvae.
Another study done after the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill was performed by the EPA in order to determine the effects on potential endocrine
activity, cytotoxicity, and acute toxicity. Some dispersants contain nonylphenol ethoxylates, which can break down to nonylphenol in the
environment, which can cause possible endocrine disruption. Cytotoxicity uses in vitro assay testing to determine what effects a chemical could
have on human health and the environment. Acute toxicity tests were also used to find the lethal concentrations ofthe chemicals.
The Committee on Environmental and Public Works researched the physical, toxic, and indirect effects on animal life. Physical effects include
loss of thermoregulation due tooiling of feathers, as well as suffocation or starvation. Some toxic effects are from direct ingestion of the oil,
inhaling the volatile components of the crude oil, or uptake of the water accommodated (soluble) fraction (WAF) of crude oil across exposed
membranes. The addition of oil dispersants enhances the likelihood of exposure and subsequent effects byproducing smaller droplets of oil that
could be mistaken as food, by increasing the amount of the water accommodated fraction (CEWAF, or chemically enhanced WAF) of crude
oil, and by exposing aquatic organisms to the dispersant itself.
Herring Larvae Research info: Lindén, O. “Accute Effects of Oil and Oil/Dispersant Mixture on Larvae of Baltic Herring.” Ambio. Vol 4, No 3. 1975 pp 130-133. Swedish Water and Air Pollution Laboratory (IVL). IVL Baltic Laboratory. <http://www.jstor.org/stable/4312127>
EPA. "Questions and Answers on Dispersants." <http://www.epa.gov/bpspill/dispersants-qanda.html#toxtestqanda>
Committee on Environmental and Public Works. "Oversight Hearing on the Use of Oil Dispersants in the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill." <http://epw.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=Files.View&FileStore_id=15478045-d9f4-4877-bb3c-3a2d06233ec1>