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View Diary: Exxon-Mobil tar sands pipeline ruptures. Neighborhood evacuated. (181 comments)

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  •  Benzene is a carcinogen. Other dilutents evaporate (33+ / 0-)

    into the air.  Both can cause serious health hazards to the surrounding population.

    According to a recent article from the Canadian Center on Policy Alternatives speaking about the tar sands oil ("diluted bitumen" AKA "dilbit") spill into the Kalamazoo River in 2010 which they are still trying to clean up two years and almost a BILLION DOLLARS later:

    According to the NTSB’s final report, only two days after the spill the denser bitumen had separated from the dilutants in the dilbit and sunk to the bottom of the river bed, covering about 40 kilometres. Meanwhile, the dilutants -- containing benzene, toluene, and micro-polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) -- began off-gassing in the area, causing symptoms such as nausea, dizziness, headaches, coughing, and fatigue in 60% of the local population. Oil spill expert Riki Ott recently told a Vancouver Island audience (see Sept.-Oct. Watershed Sentinel) that micro-PAHs are major health hazards, causing cancer, asthma, hormone and reproductive problems by “jamming immune system and DNA functions.”
    Those people should not be working there without protective clothing and masks.  60 homes had to be evacuated for several weeks after the Kalamazoo spill.  Several hundred people have reported health problems so far.  

    Keystone will be running along our nation's biggest aquifer, Ogallala, which provides drinking water to 82% of eight states, South Dakota, Nebraska, Wyoming, Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, New Mexico and Texas as well as 30% of the country's agriculture irrigation ground water.  Everyone in those states and farmers in the Midwest should be calling on the White House and the Secretary of State to protect us from ourselves on this one.

    •  Yup, those are the symptoms (19+ / 0-)

      Benzene also causes fetal neuro defects like spina bifida.

      For anyone who doesn't recognize Riki Ott, she has been on the Exxon Valdez spill since '89, the BP spill and is one of the star specialists who is really good at explaining complicated situations. One of the reasons I respect Al Jazeera, they use her and other scientists the American Corporate media won't.

      My ex, an Env Eng (MS) worked the Valdez spill as a safety officer. He distributed PPE, monitoring tags and instructions for workers. One of the problems there still haunts us. The exact pollutants, their dangers, and how to protect from them, are unlikely to be fully known in any given situation. There are too many chemicals that can be involved, combining to form shit no one can figure out. The Valdez spill created many health problems over a huge area, to workers and local inhabitants. This is exactly the problem of spills.

      Several hundred people have reported health problems so far.  
      Public health experts need to have a means of following the local populations so when new problems start surfacing they can be identified early. Bottom line: prevention is the best solution and the best way to do that is to have      NO pipelines.

      "People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed and redeemed; never throw out anyone. " Audrey Hepburn "A Beautiful Woman"

      by Ginny in CO on Sat Mar 30, 2013 at 02:16:00 PM PDT

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      •  Hey, I'm late to this fray Ginny, but I have a (10+ / 0-)

        serious concern about the pollutants, not only those which are known, but those which according to the oil companies are trade secrets, like those used in fracking.

        I'm finding it pretty ridiculous that the names of the chemicals that will be injected into the earth are trade secrets.  How are we supposed to know what they will do to our drinking water, or the environment when we aren't allowed to know what they are?

        Something is royally screwed up here.

        •  They are serious issues (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          cotterperson, lenzy1000, terrybuck, elwior

          Unfortunately, the fairly complicated response just went into cyberspace and I have to get an errand done before the store closes. Will try later :(

          One good thing may have come from it. I possibly have figured out what causes this for me. My pointer sometimes rolls out of the comment box because I have a regular mouse and a touchscreen due to repetitive strain injuries. I think this usually happens when I go to edit something when the pointer is out of the box. Especially delete or return.

          Further experimenting needed.

          "People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed and redeemed; never throw out anyone. " Audrey Hepburn "A Beautiful Woman"

          by Ginny in CO on Sat Mar 30, 2013 at 04:02:10 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  my response to the "Trade Secret" b.s is- (4+ / 0-)

          you can keep your formula to yourself BUT we want to know that the ingredients are not damaging to humans OR the environment. It is definitely Royally Screwed Up when profit interests override safety and common sense. Let them dole their toxins out as dividends and the CEOs can fill their swimming pools with them. (last sentence is snark)

      •  I was a union worker on the Valdez spill (4+ / 0-)

        and although we had rubber boots and overalls, we were never advised as to the possibility of off-gassing chemicals and wore no repirators.

        I was 18 at the time. My youngest was born with an relatively mild Sturg-Webber Syndrome. I never considered that the two might be related.

        •  Probably not a cause for S-W (0+ / 0-)

          It's been around for a long time but, I checked just to be sure, it's not increasing in incidence. Which would be indicative that environmental toxins could trigger it. That doesn't necessarily rule it out. I have seen some really bizarre medical situations (as an RN) that screamed environmental cause, that the docs would not consider. The potential for very unusual situations to trigger something is not going to make a blip on the incidence stats.

          The spill covered a large area which meant many safety officers with varying levels of expertise, plus variations in the conditions. Alan had equipment that some of the others might not have. I think he had some people working areas that did use respirators and others that didn't. Long time to have accurate memories of those details. I am due to call this week, his health is not good and the docs won't admit the Valdez work easily contributed. Ok if I Kosmail if there is anything worthwhile?
          Do you remember where you were working and any other specifics - dates, weather, clean up chemicals...? Kosmail that if you prefer.

          "People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed and redeemed; never throw out anyone. " Audrey Hepburn "A Beautiful Woman"

          by Ginny in CO on Sun Mar 31, 2013 at 12:40:13 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Aw, who wants to live forever . . . (9+ / 0-)

      if we all die of cancer so the oil companies can make a profit, we just being part of the team.

      I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that his justice cannot sleep forever. ~Thomas Jefferson

      by bobdevo on Sat Mar 30, 2013 at 04:00:58 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  naïve question (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Does diluted bitumen (ie tar sands product in pipelines) have more benzene, toluene, volatile PAHs, etc., than regular crude?

      An ambulance can only go so fast - Neil Young

      by mightymouse on Sun Mar 31, 2013 at 05:08:37 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Not a stupid question, the fossil fuel bitumen, (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        from the tar sands is semi-solid or solid.  It looks like coal, but has the consistency of peanut butter.  It cannot be moved through a pipeline, so it is diluted with a toxic liquid chemical cocktail (dilutants) to produce the "dilbit" which can then be piped.  So, yes is the answer to your question.  

        The dilbit is usually at least 30% dilutants that will evaporate into the atmosphere creating toxic fumes/clouds during a spill.

        Another scary fact is that the dilutants are re-used.  They are removed during refining and then piped back across the country.  Can you imagine if a pipeline with 100% dilutants spills?

        Regular crude is liquid like the stuff that comes out of a gusher AND it floats on water.  Although it can be mixed with or have some of the same chemicals, it's not nearly as hazardous because they don't separate during a spill.  Dilbit separates with the butimen sinking or sticking, depending on whether its in water or not, with some parts of the dilutants going into the air.  That's why they have to evacuate homes and should equip emergency workers with hazmat suits.

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