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The Stalls of Higher Thought

10 Things You Didn’t Know About Bitumen

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Tar Sand Sad

(Globalnews.ca) Ten things an unpublished government-commissioned study found remain unknown about the effects of oil and oilsands products in rivers, lakes and oceans:

  1. Toxicology: Research on the biological effects of oilsands products is lacking. Report found no peer-reviewed articles at all.
  2. Bitumen in water: There is little information on how bitumen, diluted bitumen or products used to dilute bitumen behave in water, including whether bitumen sinks or floats.
  3. Metals: Although bitumen has different heavy-metal concentrations and components than conventional oil, their behaviour in a spill hasn’t been studied.
  4. Condensate: Not much is known on the toxicity of condensate — a lighter hydrocarbon used to dilute bitumen for pumping — once it enters a body of water.
  5. Pathways: The mechanics of how bitumen and other oilsands products interact with organisms is unknown.
  6. Air toxicity: More research is needed on the toxicity and deposition of oilsands hydrocarbons through the air.
  7. Specific water bodies: Little research has been done on the effects of hydrocarbon spills specific to Canadian waters such as the Great Lakes.
  8. Photo-toxicity: Studies should be conducted on whether chemicals in bitumen are made more toxic by sunlight, as happens with some hydrocarbons
  9. Dispersants: More needs to be known about the interaction of bitumen, the environment and dispersants, which are chemicals sometimes used to break up and speed the decomposition of oilspills.
  10. Ice: The behaviour of oil, bitumen and dispersant in the ice-choked, cold and dark waters of the Canadian Arctic is largely unknown.

It’s strange how a government that claims to protect you from every evolving terrorist threats by needing to know everything you do, say, read and write yet doesn’t apply the same logic to protecting our environment. I think the government needs use more resources to protect our environment and not billions defending our “values”.

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Written by mattliving

February 3, 2015 at 8:37 am

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