Dispersants' Effects Debated

Many questionsremain about the impact of oil dispersants on the environment, scientists told the Senate Committee on Environment & Public Works at an Aug. 4 hearing.

However, at a press briefing on Aug. 2, the Environmental Protection Agencyannounced that mixtures of crude oil and the dispersant chemicals used to break up oil slicks appear to be no more toxic to sensitive marine life than the oil itself.

“Application of dispersant at these depths is unprecedented,” Ronald J. Kendall testified at the Aug. 4 hearing. Kendall is chair of the department of environmental toxicology at Texas Tech University, Lubbock.

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