Dispersants are often used in oil spill responses because they may mitigate the environmental impacts of the spill by moving the oil from the water surface into the water column enhancing its biodegradation.
While this process helps reduce the likelihood of oil exposure to marine wildlife such as seabirds and marine mammals, aquatic toxicity on marine communities from the dispersant and the chemically dispersed oil needs to be considered more carefully.
Scientists at Research Planning, Inc. and HDR Ecosystem Management evaluated the standard toxicity testing data used to inform dispersant decisions and published a critical review of their findings in the scientific journal Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry in March 2014.
The authors found issues with the current practices, and lead author Adriana Bejarano notes, "Despite concerted efforts by the spill response community to propose and promote discussions on better laboratory practices, studies are still performed without consideration of such recommendations."
Laboratory tests frequently used by decision makers do not adequately replicate the conditions in the field, such as sea state and weather, nor do they necessarily consider exposure durations (short-term vs. standard exposure) and concentrations (steady concentrations vs. spiked concentrations).
Bejarano's goal was to bring to light some of the common misconceptions and challenges in existing data, and to encourage decision makers to consider data quality when making decisions on the use of dispersants.
"Data comparability is difficult because of the mixed messages coming from the scientific literature. Many believe that dispersants make oil more toxic, when in reality existing data generally do not support these claims. Being critical would be beneficial to the entire decision-making process."
Jennifer Lynch | EurekAlert!
Moth takes advantage of defensive compounds in Physalis fruits
26.08.2016 | Max-Planck-Institut für chemische Ökologie
Designing ultrasound tools with Lego-like proteins
26.08.2016 | California Institute of Technology
Scientists and engineers striving to create the next machine-age marvel--whether it be a more aerodynamic rocket, a faster race car, or a higher-efficiency jet...
Waveguides are widely used for filtering, confining, guiding, coupling or splitting beams of visible light. However, creating waveguides that could do the same for X-rays has posed tremendous challenges in fabrication, so they are still only in an early stage of development.
In the latest issue of Acta Crystallographica Section A: Foundations and Advances , Sarah Hoffmann-Urlaub and Tim Salditt report the fabrication and testing of...
Electrochemists at TU Graz have managed to use monocrystalline semiconductor silicon as an active storage electrode in lithium batteries. This enables an integrated power supply to be made for microchips with a rechargeable battery.
Small electrical gadgets, such as mobile phones, tablets or notebooks, are indispensable accompaniments of everyday life. Integrated circuits in the interiors...
Recent findings indicating the possible discovery of a previously unknown subatomic particle may be evidence of a fifth fundamental force of nature, according...
A nanocrystalline material that rapidly makes white light out of blue light has been developed by KAUST researchers.
25.08.2016 | Event News
24.08.2016 | Event News
12.08.2016 | Event News
26.08.2016 | Health and Medicine
26.08.2016 | Earth Sciences
26.08.2016 | Life Sciences