BP Deploys Chemical in Attempt to Disperse Gulf Oil Slick

The massive oil slick bobbing in the Gulf of Mexico still hasn't reached shore, thanks in part to the unprecedented doses of an oil-dispersing chemical that are being dropped on it.

The spill is being blasted with as much as 60,000 gallons of the dispersant each day, by way of planes above and remote-control robots on the seafloor that are spraying it directly at the oil gushing out of the leaking well, the Wall Street Journal reports. That far outweighs the biggest previous use: 166,000 gallons on a 1996 spill off the UK coast.

CHALMETTE, La.—The huge oil slick in the Gulf of Mexico still hadn't inundated the shore on Tuesday, and officials speculated that was partly because it was being pummeled with massive amounts of chemicals designed to break up the oil.

Most of us are familiar with how Dawn dish detergent "gets grease out of the way." Now imagine millions of gallons of Dawn being dumped into the Gulf of Mexico, and you have a rough idea of the latest approach BP is taking towards cleaning up the massive oil spill that continues to threaten beaches and valuable fishing grounds from Texas to Florida -- and possibly even on the Atlantic coast if currents carry the oil in that direction.