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Mar Pollut Bull. 2007 Jul;54(7):827-38. Epub 2007 May 17.

The use of chemical dispersants to combat oil spills at sea: A review of practice and research needs in Europe.

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  • 1International Tanker Owners Pollution Federation (ITOPF), London EC1Y 1HQ, UK.


In order to better understand the practice of dispersant use, a review has been undertaken of marine oil spills over a 10 year period (1995-2005), looking in particular at variations between different regions and oil-types. This viewpoint presents and analyses the review data and examines a range of dispersant use policies. The paper also discusses the need for a reasoned approach to dispersant use and introduces past cases and studies to highlight lessons learned over the past ten years, focussing on dispersant effectiveness and monitoring; toxicity and environmental effects; the use of dispersants in low salinity waters; response planning and future research needs.

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