Lautenberg Bill Will Require Chemical Dispersant Testing
Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) is preparing to introduce today the “Safe Dispersants Act,” legislation that would require that chemical dispersants used to break up oil after a spill be tested for their long-term health effects.
According to Lautenberg’s opening remarks today at a hearing on environmental damages from the oil spill in a subcommittee of the Senate Environment & Public Works Committee:
[W]e simply don’t know if powerful chemical dispersants—which have been used in abundance to break up the oil—are really safe for sea life. Current law does not require adequate testing of these dispersants. And because of that, relief workers and wildlife have become unwitting participants in a dangerous science experiment.
For example, we don’t know if breaking down the oil into smaller components will make it more likely that fish will eat the oil, which will slowly accumulate in other species up the food chain.That is why today I am introducing my Safe Dispersants Act. This commonsense bill will require long-term testing and disclosure of all ingredients in a dispersant before it can be used in response to a spill.