Oil Dispersant Enters Gulf Food Chain
Corexit 'acting as delivery system for oil'
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 30, 2010 10:20 AM CDT
An image from video made available by BP PLC shows dispersant being applied to an oil leak during efforts to cap the Deepwater Horizon oil well in the Gulf of Mexico Thursday June 3, 2010. The white...   (AP Photo/BP PLC)

(Newser) – A chemical dispersant used in the Gulf of Mexico appears to be making its way into the food chain along with droplets of oil it has broken down, scientists say. Marine biologists have found signs of an oil-dispersant mix under the shells of blue crab larvae, which are food for a wide variety of creatures further up the food chain, the Huffington Post reports. Scientists aren't sure how damaging the chemical will be when combined with oil, which is toxic.

The dispersant, scientists say, has broken down the oil into droplets, making them small enough to find their way under the tiny crab larvae's shells. Dispersant "doesn't make the oil go away, it just puts it from one part of the ecosystem into another," one marine scientist says. On the surface of the Gulf, the oil slick has been rapidly vanishing, but what's happening to ecosystems beneath isn't fully understood.