EPA is not checking, sources say
June 16, 2010 — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)’s approval of BP’s use of oil dispersants to break up unsightly oil slicks could increase levels of carcinogens like benzene in the Gulf’s food chain.
Dispersants break up oil slicks, increasing surface-to-volume ratios so oil can evaporate faster.
But that also directly exposes more crude oil to surrounding water, hastening the release of carcinogens and toxins like benzene, lead and mercury into seawater, studies show.
Dispersants have been shown to increase the concentration of carcinogenic hydrocarcinogens in seawater, and to increase the uptake of those carcinogens in fish.
Authors of a 2003 study concluded: “the addition of the dispersant could increase the concentration of water column polyaromatic hydrocarbons and thus increase the exposure and potential toxicity for organisms in the natural environment.”
EPA employees have been told not to speak to the news media, they told epiNewswire.
A review of the scientific literature by epiNewswire Tuesday identified no meta-analyses or systematic reviews.