British Petroleum and government disaster-relief agencies are using a toxic chemical to disperse oil in the Gulf of Mexico, even though a better alternative appears to be available.
A few scientists think dispersants are mostly useful as public relations strategy, as they make the oil slick invisible, even though oil particles continue to do damage. Others consider Corexit the lesser of two evils: It’s known to be highly toxic, adding to the harm caused by oil, but at least it will concentrate damage at sea, sparing sensitive and highly productive coastal areas. Better to sacrifice the deep sea than the shorelines.
BP: Let’s make it invisible!