Study Reveals Thirty Toxic Chemicals at High Levels at Exxon Arkansas Tar Sands Pipeline Spill Site

Pic PD.

Pic PD.

Steve Horn writes at DeSmogBlog:

An independent study co-published by the Faulkner County Citizens Advisory Group and Global Community Monitor reveals that, in the aftermath of ExxonMobil’s Pegasus tar sands pipeline spill of over 500,000 gallons of diluted bitumen (dilbit) into Mayflower, AR, air quality in the area surrounding the spill has been affected by high levels of cancer-causing chemicals.

Roughly four weeks after the spill took place, many basic details are still unknown to the public, according to recent reporting by InsideClimate News. Questions include what exactly caused the spill, how big was the spill exactly, and how long did it take for emergency responders to react to the spill, to name a few.

But one thing is certain according to the new study: For the residents of Mayflower, quality of life has been changed forever.

The chemicals found in the samples include benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, n-hexane, and xylenes. Breathing in both ethylbenzene and benzene can cause cancer and reproductive effects, while breathing in n-hexane can damage the nervous system and usher in numbness in the extremities, muscular weakness, blurred vision, headaches, and fatigue.

All of these chemicals are hazardous air pollutants (HAPs), “regulated under the 1990 Federal Clean Air Act amendments as the most toxic of all known airborne chemicals,” as explained in the press release summarzing the study.

As covered here on DeSmog, the spill clean-up in Mayflower has more closely resembled PR image clean-up than on-the-ground clean-up, both because of the firm the AR Attorney General has hired to do spill clean-up assessment and because of the ongoing Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) no-fly zone being run on behalf of the FAA by Exxon’s “Aviation Advisor,” Tom Suhrhoff.

Given the revalations in this latest study, Exxon has proven it has much to cover up, with this study only scratching the surface of the ecological harms of the pipeline spill.

“The spill and response has been a disservice to the community,” said Global Community Monitor’s Ruth Breech. “People are obviously suffering and experiencing health symptoms from chemical exposure related to the oil spill. State and Federal need to step up immediately to document and prevent any further health issues associated with the Exxon oil spill. Agencies need to share information in a manner to ensure informed decision making and enable access to necessary resources such as medical treatment for chemical exposure.”

With a decision looming on the future of the prospective TransCanada Keystone XL tar sands pipeline by the Obama Administration, Mayflower is yet another sordid case study of the hazards that accompany tar sands pipelines wherever they meander.

Keep reading.

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  • BuzzCoastin

    04/12/2012 Exxon Mobil gave its top executive a 17 percent increase in compensation last year, as the oil giant posted one of its most profitable years on record.

    Rex Tillerson, 60, received a pay package worth $25.2 million, up from $21.5 million in 2010, according to an AP analysis of a regulatory filing on Thursday.

    make this dude personally libel
    for his bad decisions & their consequences
    the guy took home over $100 million in “wages”
    take it out of his personal fortune & what he can’t pay
    make XXXon Mobil
    of course, that’s not gonna happen
    thanks to the rule of Law in the Land of the Free

  • http://twitter.com/lefleck phil barnes

    Toluene, benzene, ethylebenzene, xylene are mutagenic or carcinogenic and are all components of gasoline commonly referred to as BTEX. It has always been a mystery why people or employees of gas stations are not required to wear respirators when pumping gas. The answer is, if anyone cares, is that these components are not regulated as if they were in a typical industrial environment. And we wonder why people get cancer. No mystery there.

  • rtb61

    The mind boggles as to why Exxon Mobil didn’t just straight up buy out every affected person’s property the next day and go from there.
    Leaving them purposefully exposed to a toxic environment when Exxon Mobil knew exactly what has been spilled and the associated risk, just leaves them fully exposed to punitive damages and criminal charges.
    They will eventually have to buy all affected properties and pay a multiplier for the contempt for the affected people’s health and safety. Seriously, what kind of idiots have they got running the place.

    • http://iuwus.deviantart.com/ Threedinium

      It would be comforting to think of them as merely idiots.

  • jnana

    lets hope the meek inherit the earth before its too late

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