Dispersants: Human Health


BP used the dispersants Corexit 9500 and 9527 to disperse the crude oil on the surface of the Gulf of Mexico and at the seafloor 5,000 feet below the surface. These dispersants have the ability to increase chemical update in the human body, resulting in illness.
If you come into contact with dispersants, call your doctor. If you have a medical emergency, call 911.

The best way to prevent illness is to prevent exposure. Pathways of exposure include inhalation, ingestion and absorption through the skin or eyes.

Human health impacts include:

  • Headaches.
  • Abdominal pains, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.
  • Dizziness.
  • Allergic reactions.
  • Skin irritation, damage and sensitization.
  • Eye, nose, throat and lung irritation.
  • Respiratory system damage, decreased lung function, rapid or difficulty breathing and asthma attacks.
  • Increased severity of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).
  • Cardiovascular damage, cardiac arrhythmia, and chest pain and tightness.
  • Damage to liver and kidneys.
  • Central nervous system depression and neurotoxic effects.
  • Damage to red blood cells.
  • Immune system damage.
  • Genetic damage and mutations.
  • Reproductive and developmental damage.

Thank you to Wilma Subra, of the Subra Company, for her invaluable input and research.

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