News / USA

BP Ordered to Use Less Toxic Chemicals against Oil Spill

David Dyar

U.S. environmental officials have ordered BP oil company to use less toxic chemicals to fight a growing oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. BP now admits the underwater leak is releasing more oil than it first estimated.

The Environmental Protection Agency said BP should make the change in 72 hours, and begin spraying less toxic chemicals to disperse oil in the water. So far, BP says it has sprayed 2.5 million liters of dispersant, most of it on the water's surface and a smaller amount near the source of the undersea leak.

The dispersant currently in use has been approved by the EPA, but officials expressed concern because it is being used in such large quantities.

Jane Lubchenco, head of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or NOAA, says the current oil leak is unique because it has continued for four weeks. "Because of that, dispersants have been used in much greater volume than ever has been the case in U.S. waters for an oil spill," he said.

Scientists from the EPA and NOAA have been conducting air and water quality tests in the Gulf of Mexico since the oil leak started four weeks ago. Some environmental groups say they worry the extensive use of dispersants will harm marine habitats and fish populations almost as much as the oil.

Experts say dispersants help to reduce the formation of heavy oil slicks, which can be lethal to sea birds and other animals that come in contact with the water's surface. BP has been using dispersants as one of several tools to combat the oil leak, including skimming and burning oil on the surface.

Meanwhile, BP confirmed the damaged well is leaking more than 5,000 barrels of oil a day into the water, as it earlier stated. Some independent researchers have said underwater video of the leak shows the flow rate could be several times higher.

NOAA administrator Lubchenco said scientists are working on several methods to produce an accurate estimate of the flow. But she says it is difficult to deploy testing equipment near the leak, because BP is using a number of remote controlled submarines to try to stop the leak. "There have been multiple efforts to stem the flow, and having lots of vehicles down there makes it more likely there will be accidents or that they will interfere with each other's activity," he said.

NOAA scientists also are launching new efforts this week to track the path of oil from the site of the leak, some 80 kilometers off the coast of Louisiana. They say an oil sheen has begun approaching a strong current in the Gulf of Mexico, which could carry oil residue for hundreds of kilometers toward Florida and nearby Caribbean nations.

You May Like

Koreas Mark 61st Anniversary of War Armistice

Muted observances on both sides of heavily-armed Demilitarized Zone that separates two decades-long enemies More

Judge Declares Washington DC Ban on Public Handguns Unconstitutional

Ruling overturns capital city's prohibition on carrying guns in pubic More

Pricey Hepatitis C Drug Draws Criticism

Activists are using the International AIDS Conference to criticize drug companies for charging high prices for life-saving therapies More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Students in Business for Themselvesi
X
Mike O'Sullivan
July 26, 2014 11:04 AM
They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid