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Which chemicals from chemical spills are used in cleanup and affect the atmosphere in a...

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danielb77 | (Level 1) Valedictorian

Posted April 2, 2013 at 3:38 AM via web

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Which chemicals from chemical spills are used in cleanup and affect the atmosphere in a negative manner?

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ncchemist | eNotes Employee

Posted April 3, 2013 at 2:52 AM (Answer #1)

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The list of dangerous and potentially dangerous artificial chemicals from spills would be nearly endless.  Obviously, any chemical accidentally spilled could have many unintended affects on the atmosphere and the environment.  But the real kicker is when chemicals from cleanup efforts are themselves potentially hazardous.  One particular example is the chemical called Corexit.  It is used to clean up oil spills in water and was used extensively during the Deepwater Horizon spill in the Gulf of Mexico a couple of years ago.  It is a dispersing agent, meaning it breaks up oil slicks on the surface of the water and suspends the oil in the water to allow bacteria to naturally break down the oil more effectively.  But Corexit has been shown in some studies to be potentially harmful to both humans and animals including plankton, thus potentially disrupting the ocean food chain.  Consider that Corexit was used during the Exxon Valdez oil spill cleanup and many of the people involved with that cleanup experienced serious health issues later in life including liver, CNS, and red blood cell issues.

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