Abstract: Revised estimates published by the National Incident Command’s Flow Rate Technical Group (FRTG) report that 4.9 million barrels of oil were released into the Gulf of Mexico. The oil posed a significant health risk in the plant and animal life within the Gulf region. To help reduce the amount of oil that reached the coastline, dispersants were used to break-up the oil and sink it to the bottom of the ocean. Dispersants are composed of a mixture of solvents and detergents that break-up the heavy oil into droplets and allow it to be more readily decomposed in the environment. Although limited quantities of COREX IT 9527 were used, the primary dispersant used in the cleanup effort was COREX IT 9500. Though the proprietary components of COREX IT were kept secret, Nalco has now disclosed the exact composition on their website. Debate still exists over the potential environmental risk that the dispersants pose. To better understand the level of dispersants in the Gulf and their movement, we propose several analytical procedures to measure the unique components found in both products. Summary: Dispersants are plasticizers commonly used to prevent clumping and help dissipate oil slicks. In this work, we used GC/MS and LC-MS/ MS to detect and indentify two of the most widely used dispersants (Corexit 9527 and 9500).
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