One month and 700,000 gallons later, the EPA decides that Corexit, the dispersant that BP has been pumping into the gulf in massive quantities, is too risky to use.

Wow. It took our lead environmental agency a month to figure this out and then only in response from scientists and politicians who have pointed to less toxic alternatives. We must do better.

In directing BP to select a less toxic dispersant, the Environmental Protection Agency said it was exercising caution because so little is known about the chemicals’ potential impact.

BP has sprayed nearly 700,000 gallons of Corexit dispersants on the surface of the gulf and directly onto the leaking well head a mile underwater. It is by far the largest use of chemicals to break up an oil spill in United States waters to date.

Scientists and politicians have questioned why the E.P.A. is allowing use of the Corexit products when less toxic alternatives are available.

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