New report examines the safety of using dispersants in oil spill clean ups this month by the national academies of science engineering and medicine governors chair for environmental . Dispersants provide a reliable large scale response to catastrophic oil spills that can be used when the preferable option of recapturing the oil cannot be achieved by allowing even mild wave action to disperse floating oil into tiny droplets 70 um in the water column seabirds reptiles and mammals are protected from lethal oiling at the surface and microbial biodegradation is . Approximately 3 million gallons of oil or refined petroleum products are spilled into us waters every year oil dispersants chemical agents such as surfactants solvents and other compounds are used to reduce the effect of oil spills by changing the chemical and physical properties of the oil. Photochemical oxidation of oil reduced the effectiveness of aerial dispersants applied in response to the deepwater horizon spill environmental science technology letters april 2018 partial photochemical oxidation was a dominant fate of deepwater horizon surface oil environmental science technology february 2018
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