Dr. Riki Ott, a toxicologist, marine biologist and founder of ALERT, was on scene for the Exxon Valdez oil disaster in Alaska in 1989.
Ott has been working to have dispersants banned for many years, and said that while BP’s disaster “triggered more regulations, many things remains unaddressed.”
“Rules are being broken and the laws have not kept up with the science. Congressional action is needed.”
“Post BP, the EPA has proposed to make products more transparent, but dispersants still have some ingredients that are trade secrets and not available for public knowledge,” Ott told Truthout. “There is no EPA process for delisting the product. Furthermore, dispersants contain sinking agents, and the EPA proposes to allow products that sink oil to the bottom.”
According to Ott, the EPA’s current toxicity tests are 40 years out of date, and it is the EPA’s responsibility to monitor the long-term health impacts from the dispersants, as well as to track their impact on nature.
Ott concluded by stating that the EPA “can only make a bad situation a little better. Rules are being broken and the laws have not kept up with the science. Congressional action is needed. In lieu of congressional action, we on this panel are all committed to work for stronger regulations.”
During an interview with Truthout in 2012, US Coast Guard Capt. Jonathan Burton, who at the time was the federal on-scene coordinator for the region of the Gulf of Mexico that included the area where BP’s disaster took place, said that dispersants remain one of the “primary tools” in the toolkit used in response to future oil spills. The other two tools are skimming and burning the oil.
On January 20, the third phase of the BP oil disaster civil trial will resume in federal court in New Orleans, Louisiana. The result of this trial will determine how much BP and other responsible parties will pay in Clean Water Act fines for the 2010 drilling disaster that released at least 3.19 million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. Estimates for the amount of BP’s fines range from $5 to $13.7 billion.
Read the entire article here. http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/28623-scientists-and-doctors-sound-alarm-over-health-dangers-of-oil-spill-dispersants