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!
An evolutionary heads-up – The brain size advantage
22.05.2015 | Veterinärmedizinische Universität Wien
Endocrine disrupting chemicals in baby teethers
21.05.2015 | Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main
Physicists have developed an innovative method that could enable the efficient use of nanocomponents in electronic circuits. To achieve this, they have developed a layout in which a nanocomponent is connected to two electrical conductors, which uncouple the electrical signal in a highly efficient manner. The scientists at the Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel have published their results in the scientific journal “Nature Communications” together with their colleagues from ETH Zurich.
Electronic components are becoming smaller and smaller. Components measuring just a few nanometers – the size of around ten atoms – are already being produced...
Development and implementation of an advanced automobile parking navigation platform for parking services
To fulfill the requirements of the industry, PolyU researchers developed the Advanced Automobile Parking Navigation Platform, which includes smart devices,...
The world's first electrical car and passenger ferry powered by batteries has entered service in Norway. The ferry only uses 150 kWh per route, which...
On Tuesday, 19 May 2015 the research icebreaker Polarstern will leave its home port in Bremerhaven, setting a course for the Arctic. Led by Dr Ilka Peeken from the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI) a team of 53 researchers from 11 countries will investigate the effects of climate change in the Arctic, from the surface ice floes down to the seafloor.
RV Polarstern will enter the sea-ice zone north of Spitsbergen. Covering two shallow regions on their way to deeper waters, the scientists on board will focus...
Nanoengineers at the University of California, San Diego developed a gel filled with toxin-absorbing nanosponges that could lead to an effective treatment for skin and wound infections caused by MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus), an antibiotic-resistant bacteria. This "nanosponge-hydrogel" minimized the growth of skin lesions on mice infected with MRSA - without the use of antibiotics. The researchers recently published their findings online in Advanced Materials.
To make the nanosponge-hydrogel, the team mixed nanosponges, which are nanoparticles that absorb dangerous toxins produced by MRSA, E. coli and other...
20.05.2015 | Event News
18.05.2015 | Event News
12.05.2015 | Event News
22.05.2015 | Materials Sciences
22.05.2015 | Information Technology
22.05.2015 | Materials Sciences