A city medical officer of health in Toronto says her belief that the use of Corexit dispersant on the northern Gulf Coast ahead of the 2010 BP oil spill “was not justified” has sparked a backlash on social media.
With the country in a state of memory regarding the “Deepwater Horizon” spill, with calls for her to resign from her post, Rob Schofield claims to have been pushed into a corner after raising that question on Twitter.
READ MORE: Did Canadian medical officer of health push aside scientific consensus on oil spill?
Asked in a CBC interview Monday about her comments on the dispersant, Dr. Krista Andress said, “It was so important that people could work and we didn’t want to get anyone injured.
“And I really wanted to promote discourse and to encourage more information to come out and we were only talking about a 20-day period so I didn’t think it was justified,” she told the radio station.
But it appears the conversation has been spiraling since Andress’ comments were first reported in the Toronto Star Monday, and she issued a statement Tuesday clarifying her comments.
“I knew of the dispersant’s proven negative side effects when I made the statement. I wanted to provide a little extra encouragement for people to take action in the oil spill aftermath, and I didn’t choose this statement as an opportunity to criticise any particular dispersant,” she said.
Andress continued, “I did not consider this public health statement to be a professional or academic matter, and I am not alone in seeing that there are many dissimilar actors with a fiduciary obligation to safety.
READ MORE: Was Canada’s health officer too quick to dismiss scientific safety concerns about Corexit before Deepwater Horizon disaster?
“I never sought public criticism, I just thought my public health perspective could and should get more of a voice. I apologize if I unintentionally created an additional instance of disconnect and misinformation.”
Despite protests aimed at Andress from social media users who believe her comments are out of step with scientific advice, Greg von Donnellon, a one-time and now distinguished fellow of the American Chemical Society and founder of the Corexit Documentation Project, told The Daily Caller the issue is not scientific.
“In order to be promoted as human being protecting animals from toxins, you have to put on your OK Corral hat and whip up racial tension. Her statement was meant to alarm, which says everything we need to know about humanity,” he said.
Yet Andress defended herself on Tuesday against conspiracy theorists who say her position is more about politics than science.
“I think it is deeply disturbing that people think this is about science. This is about promoting a cause on a political-ethnic basis,” she said.
This isn’t the first time the Canadian-born Andress has gotten herself into hot water over the Deepwater Horizon spill and Corexit.
Read more about her related history here.