Friday, November 09, 2007

Oil in waters troubling

In the go-go economy of northern Alberta, we hear of infrastructure problems and we hear of social problems. We don't hear about the environmental problems often enough.

Today's New York Times reports that high levels of carcinogens and toxic substances have been found in fish, water and sediment downstream from oil sands projects. The article goes on to say that:
Like Dr. Timoney, scientists who have reviewed his report say further studies are necessary to determine the cause and extent of the problem. But they also expressed concern about what his research had already found. “This could actually be worse, in some respects, than the Exxon Valdez,” said Jeffrey W. Short, a research scientist at the Alaska Fisheries Science Center who has studied the tanker accident that spilled 11 million gallons of oil off the Alaska coast in 1989.

Most disturbing, said Dr. Short, was the finding that from 2001 to 2005, concentrations in sediments of a group of chemicals called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons rose.

“These are substantial increases over and above the natural levels,” said Dr. Short, adding that the hydrocarbons “are notorious carcinogens,” found in tar and tarlike materials. In some cases, they were more than four times recommended limits in the United States. (Canada has no guidelines.)
You'll read more about this issue.

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