ROBERT, La. -- A Coast Guard official says good weather in the Gulf of Mexico is allowing crews to conduct more controlled oil burns and drop thousands of gallons of chemicals on the slick.

Officer 3rd Class Brandon Blackwell said Thursday that good weather allowed 18 flights to drop 150,000 gallons of chemical a day earlier. The chemical breaks down the oil on the water s surface and helps prevent it from reaching the shore.

But marine scientists say the oil balls suspended in the water can also be consumed by bacteria, which can pass toxins up the food chain.

Crews also skimmed 588,000 gallons of an oil-water mixture and conducted five controlled burns.

More fires are scheduled for Thursday.

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