Nalco…not just following orders…

Not your momma's dish soap...

Nalco, the makers of Corexit disperant, are on the line for what could be hundreds of thousands of personal injury claims with the company’s request for immunity being quashed yesterday in a ruling by US District Court Judge Carl Barbier.

The chemical company, whose product British Petroleum execs once called safe as dish soap had requested immunity from any lawsuit because they claimed to be just following orders from President Obama in giving the chemical to BP for use.

Barbier, however, called bullshit on that.

It turns out that whole disagreement between the EPA and British Petroleum on what dispersant to use might have consequences after all.

Who knew?

For those who’ve forgotten:

Judge Barbier writes:

 “‘After the disaster, BP began implementing a disaster response plan to prevent oil from escaping the blown out well, to manually contain the oil, and to disperse oil in the water using Nalco’s chemical dispersants….”‘Upon information and belief, immediately after the Deepwater Horizon disaster, on or about April 23, 2010, BP began subsea and aerial application of chemical dispersants manufactured by Defendant Nalco to the resulting oil slicks and sheens on the surface of the Gulf.    

“‘On or about May 19, 2010, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator directed BP within 24 hours of issuance to identify and to change to chemical dispersants that are less toxic than Nalco’s Corexit® dispersants BP had been using…On May 20, 2010, BP objected to changing dispersants and notified the EPA that it would continue using Nalco’s Corexit. BP and clean-up defendants used and, upon information and belief, continue to use the dispersants Corexit® 9500 and 9527 (more than 1.8 million gallons to date) to disperse the crude oil…”


You see, if the EPA hadn’t objected to BP’s use of Corexit, then Nalco would have automatic immunity, granted to them by legal provisions in both the government contractor defense and the Clean Water Act. But the EPA did object, ordering the company to find a less toxic alternative and British Petroleum, with financial connections to Nalco, said too bad, were using it anyway.

And whereas Nalco might be forgiven for mistaking BP for the government last summer, their role in the spray of their chemicals which, as the plaintiffs allege “may lead to serious problems, disease, and medical conditions’ and plaintiffs are at a ‘significantly increased risk of contracting serious latent disease,” is unforgivable.

And really, if your product is so safe, what the hell do you need immunity for anyway?

Read the article:

Corexit Makers May Be Liable for Use at Oil Spill

Have a nice day.

5 thoughts on “Nalco…not just following orders…

  1. Nice post… but it misses facts — facts that I was there for.

    Alternatives WERE offered up that were less toxic than Nalco’s Corexit (even by Exxon’s own toxicology reports, back when Exxon owned it openly and Exxon Biologicals did those tests — how convenient!) Each and every one was categorically refused by both BP and the EPA.

    The EPA ordered additional Corexit after the first 800,000 gallons were used up, another 600,000 gallons (totaling 1.4 million gallons at the time.) It came out of Lisa Jackson’s own mouth.

    The financial tie-in we discovered is pretty damning. I was in regular contact with Bruce Gebhardt of US Polychemical, and he was all but begging them to use his product. He went down to the Gulf on more than one occasion, but was categorically turned away.

    The EPA was founded to enforce the Clean Water and Clean Air Acts, just months after they were passed. They had authority, and could have gone further up if their autonomy was being ignored. At that point, if Lisa Jackson had asked for audience with the President, she’d have gotten it. Yet BP went unchallenged, acting with impunity, AND with US Coast Guard assistance. I have no faith or confidence in that organization (or our government overall) when it comes to protecting our oceans.

    1. Nice addition and thanks…post not meant to whitewash the complicity of the EPA…more to demonstrate that by EPA initially objecting, this nullified the immunity Nalco trying to claim…an immunity they do not deserve…

      Thanks for reading…


  2. Absolutely. I’d like to repeat the testing that Exxon Biologicals did back in the late 80’s (as I recall) when Exxon developed the stuff in the first place.

    Another convenient statistical lie is the toxicity itself. Yes, it kills fish fry in 96 hours at 2.6 ppm. But the same fry ALL die at far lower doses within 2 weeks. So just because it’s not highly concentrated, doens’t mean the stuff isn’t lethal.

    I believe that Corexit was the cause of the 10x mortality rate of baby dolphins this spring as well. Ten times the normal/expected rate is no coincidence… and that’s just the shoreline species (bottlenose). The off-shore species’ corpses likely never got as far as a beach.

  3. OSE II, The EPA has for 23 years narrowed the response for oil spills to only include the antiquated, outdated response of Exxon’s product dispersants, and mechanical clean up. EPA knew before the BP spill the horrific consequences that come with the use of Corexit 9527A from the Valdez response, yet they would not allow any other response for 23 years. Then when the EPA was confronted with the use of Exxon’s corexit 9527A they forced BP to switch to another Exxon product that was equally as horrific as the first Exxon dispersant, Neither product offers up any benefit for oil spill response. The EPA has known for over 20 years a product not in the dispersant category, but a far superior response product the EPA has even lied about to prevent its use, violating their charter and mission to the environment and US citizens.

    Oil Spill Eater II There was a non toxic Alternative to clean up the spill that has been successfully tested by BP after 10 months of spill damages. The Coast Guard sent a letter from headquarters stating to the FOSC to take action with OSE II, and the EPA, Lisa Jackson stopped the Coast Guard from allowing BP from implementing OSE II. In fact the EPA stopped the application of OSE II 11 times denying State Senators direct request for use of OSE II from Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama. La Department of environmental requested the use of OSE II as well, EPA’s Sam Coleman denied their request without reason. Governor Jindal tried to get OSE II demonstrated on the Chandelier Islands on May 6, 2010, and the EPA stopped the Governor as well. The EPA in fact stopped the use of OSE II 11 times, without a reason given. Had the EPA allowed Governor Jindal to allow the demonstration of OSE II on May 6, 2010, it is possible a significant portion of the environmental damages, including the shorelines and the seafood industry would have been spared. The toxicty test comparison between OSE II and corexit really cannot be compared since with corexit, the label states it can cause red blood cells to burst, kidney, and liver problems if a chemical suit and respirator are not worn. OSE II in contrast can be used to wash your hands and is non toxic. The BP Deep Horizon spill has proven that corexit only sinks oil and causes the same oil to be addressed a second time when it comes ashore as under water plumes, or tar balls, while OSE II has a substantiated end point of converting oil to CO2 and water. See Coast Guard letter below

    U. S. Department
    of Homeland Security
    United States
    Coast Guard

    Commanding Officer 1 Chelsea Street
    U. S. Coast Guard New London, CT 06320
    Research and Development Center Staff Symbol: Contracting Office
    Phone: (860) 271-2807

    July 10, 2010

    OSEI Corporation
    P.O. Box 515429
    Dallas, TX 75251

    Attn: Steven Pedigo, President/Owner


    We are pleased to inform you that the initial screening of your White Paper submitted under Broad Agency Announcement (BAA) HSCG32-10-R-R00019 has been completed. It has been determined that your White Paper submission has a potential for benefit to the spill response effort.

    Your White Paper has been forwarded to the Deepwater Horizon Response Federal On-Scene Coordinator (FOSC) for further action under its authority. Subject to the constraints and needs of the ongoing oil spill response, you may be contacted by the FOSC or the responsible party.

    We appreciate your interest in supporting the Deepwater Horizon Response effort.

    Contracting Officer /s/
    USCG R&D Center

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