Several groups filed a lawsuit on Monday against the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and its rules on the use of chemical dispersants to clean up oil spills, claiming that they do not meet clean water requirements. They basically claim that the current dispersants merely replace the oil in the water with a different polluting chemical.
The lawsuit is based upon the fact that the EPA has not published any schedule to identify when and where the dispersants such as Polyacrylic Acid Sodium (PAAS, the CAS number is 9003-04-7) can be used, and in what quantities.
It is common knowledge that oil spills are harmful to the environment, yet in the rush to clean them up we could be doing more damage; at least that is what certain environmental groups fear. During the BP Deepwater Horizon spill in 2010 more than 1.8 million gallons of chemicals were dumped into the Gulf of Mexico without knowing the true extent of any toxic effects it might have on the environment.
It really would be a shocking revelation to find that in cleaning up the oil spills the companies are actually adding to the pollution, and that the EPA has almost been turning a blind eye to it. Environmental groups also sued the EPA and US Coast Guard back in Aril over the unknown effects of dispersants on endangered species. Maybe more attention should be paid to the effects of cleaning up oil spills, rather than concentrating fully on the oil spill itself.