Future oil spill clean up efforts could change

Study shows dispersant chemicals less effective in sunlight

By Mark Collins - Meteorologist
kris krüg/Wikimedia Commons

2010: In volume, BP's Deepwater Horizon oil spill overtakes Ixtoc I, which leaked 130 million gallons off Mexico's coast from 1979 to 1980, to become the worst oceanic oil spill in U.S. recorded history. Before it was capped on July 15,

JACKSONVILLE, Fla - The Sun's impact on weathering oil is much greater than expected which has implications on how oil spills should be cleaned up. 

Eight years after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf, scientists say the dispersants used to break up surface oil slicks are less effective in bright sunlight. 

The results of a Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution study may substantially change how people approach cleanups.

The new findings show that although oil remains on the surface, sunlight changed more than half of the floating oils chemical makeup within hours to days. This shrinks the cleaning window of opportunity for chemical dispersants to a point below the minimum effectiveness levels designated by the EPA.

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