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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. The Use of Dispersants in Marine Oil Spill Response. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25161.
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The Use of Dispersants in
Marine Oil Spill Response

Committee on the Evaluation of the Use of
Chemical Dispersants in Oil Spill Response

Ocean Studies Board

Board on Environmental Studies and Toxicology

Division on Earth and Life Studies

A Consensus Study Report of

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THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS
Washington, DC
www.nap.edu

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. The Use of Dispersants in Marine Oil Spill Response. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25161.
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THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS 500 Fifth Street, NW Washington, DC 20001

This activity was supported by the American Petroleum Institute (#2016-110715), the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (#M15PC00004/M17PD00027), Clean Caribbean and Americas, the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine’s Gulf Research Program, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (#EP-C-14-005, TO# 17). Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication do not necessarily reflect the views of any organization or agency that provided support for the project.

International Standard Book Number-13: 978-0-309-47818-2
International Standard Book Number-10: 0-309-47818-9
Digital Object Identifier: https://doi.org/10.17226/25161

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Suggested citation: National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. The Use of Dispersants in Marine Oil Spill Response. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. https://doi.org/10.17226/25161.

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. The Use of Dispersants in Marine Oil Spill Response. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25161.
×

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The National Academy of Sciences was established in 1863 by an Act of Congress, signed by President Lincoln, as a private, nongovernmental institution to advise the nation on issues related to science and technology. Members are elected by their peers for outstanding contributions to research. Dr. Marcia McNutt is president.

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Learn more about the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine at www.nationalacademies.org.

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. The Use of Dispersants in Marine Oil Spill Response. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25161.
×

Image

Consensus Study Reports published by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine document the evidence-based consensus on the study’s statement of task by an authoring committee of experts. Reports typically include findings, conclusions, and recommendations based on information gathered by the committee and the committee’s deliberations. Each report has been subjected to a rigorous and independent peer-review process and it represents the position of the National Academies on the statement of task.

Proceedings published by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine chronicle the presentations and discussions at a workshop, symposium, or other event convened by the National Academies. The statements and opinions contained in proceedings are those of the participants and are not endorsed by other participants, the planning committee, or the National Academies.

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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. The Use of Dispersants in Marine Oil Spill Response. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25161.
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COMMITTEE ON THE EVALUATION OF THE USE OF CHEMICAL DISPERSANTS IN OIL SPILL RESPONSE

Committee

MARY E. LANDRY,Chair, U.S. Coast Guard, Belmont, Massachusetts (Retired)

E. ERIC ADAMS, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge

ADRIANA C. BEJARANO, Research Planning Inc., Columbia, South Carolina

MICHEL BOUFADEL, New Jersey Institute of Technology, Newark

GINA COELHO, Sponson Group Inc., Mansfield, Texas (Retired)

THOMAS S. COOLBAUGH, ExxonMobil Corporation, Spring, Texas

CORTIS COOPER, Chevron Corporation, Kensington, California (Retired)

DOMINIC M. DI TORO (NAE), University of Delaware, Newark

JULIA M. GOHLKE, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg

BERNARD D. GOLDSTEIN (NAM), University of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

TERRY C. HAZEN, University of Tennessee, Knoxville

KENNETH LEE, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Dartmouth, Nova Scotia

STEVEN A. MURAWSKI, University of South Florida, St. Petersburg

W. SCOTT PEGAU, Prince William Sound Science Center, Cordova, Alaska

RONALD TJEERDEMA, University of California, Davis

DAVID L. VALENTINE, University of California, Santa Barbara

HELEN K. WHITE, Haverford College, Pennsylvania

Staff

SUSAN ROBERTS, Director, Ocean Studies Board

STACEE KARRAS, Program Officer, Ocean Studies Board

TRENT CUMMINGS, Senior Program Assistant, Ocean Studies Board

SHELLY-ANN FREELAND, Financial Associate, Ocean Studies Board

___________________

NOTE: See Appendix B, Disclosure of Conflict of Interest.

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. The Use of Dispersants in Marine Oil Spill Response. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25161.
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OCEAN STUDIES BOARD

Members

LARRY A. MAYER,Chair, University of New Hampshire, Durham

KEVIN R. ARRIGO, Stanford University, California

CLAUDIA BENITEZ-NELSON, University of South Carolina, Columbia

THOMAS R. CHANCE, ASV Global, LLC, Broussard, Louisiana

RITA R. COLWELL, University of Maryland, College Park

SARAH W. COOKSEY, Delaware Chapter of The Nature Conservancy, Milton

JAMES A. ESTES, University of California, Santa Cruz

DAVID HALPERN, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California

PATRICK HEIMBACH, The University of Texas at Austin

SUSAN E. HUMPHRIES, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Massachusetts

S. BRADLEY MORAN, University of Alaska Fairbanks

STEVEN A. MURAWSKI, University of South Florida, St. Petersburg

JOHN A. ORCUTT, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, La Jolla, California

H. TUBA ÖZKAN-HALLER, Oregon State University, Corvallis

RUTH M. PERRY, Shell Exploration & Production Company, Houston, Texas

MARTIN D. SMITH, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina

MARK H. SPALDING, The Ocean Foundation, Washington, District of Columbia

MARGARET SPRING, Monterey Bay Aquarium, Monterey, California

DOUGLAS WARTZOK, Florida International University, Miami

LISA D. WHITE, University of California, Berkeley, and San Francisco State University

ROBERT S. WINOKUR, Michigan Tech Research Institute, Silver Spring, Maryland

Staff

SUSAN ROBERTS, Director

STACEE KARRAS, Program Officer

EMILY TWIGG, Program Officer

TRENT CUMMINGS, Senior Program Assistant

SHELLY-ANN FREELAND, Financial Associate

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. The Use of Dispersants in Marine Oil Spill Response. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25161.
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BOARD ON ENVIRONMENTAL STUDIES AND TOXICOLOGY

Members

WILLIAM H. FARLAND,Chair, Colorado State University, Fort Collins

LESA AYLWARD, Summit Toxicology, LLP, Falls Church, Virginia

RICHARD A. BECKER, American Chemistry Council, Washington, District of Columbia

E. WILLIAM COLGLAZIER, American Association for the Advancement of Science, Washington, District of Columbia

DOMINIC M. DI TORO (NAE), University of Delaware, Newark

DAVID C. DORMAN, North Carolina State University, Raleigh

GEORGE GRAY, The George Washington University, Washington, District of Columbia

R. JEFFREY LEWIS, ExxonMobil Biomedical Sciences, Inc., Annandale, New Jersey

ROBERT PERCIASEPE, Center for Climate and Energy Solutions, Arlington, Virginia

R. CRAIG POSTLEWAITE, U.S. Department of Defense, Burke, Virginia

REZA J. RASOULPOUR, Dow AgroSciences, Indianapolis, Indiana

JOAN B. ROSE, Michigan State University, East Lansing

GINA SOLOMON, Public Health Institute, Oakland, California

DEBORAH L. SWACKHAMER, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis

PETER THORNE, The University of Iowa, Iowa City

Staff

CLIFFORD DUKE, Director

RAYMOND WASSEL, Director of Environmental Studies

ELLEN MANTUS, Director of Risk Assessment

SUSAN MARTEL, Senior Program Officer for Toxicology

ELIZABETH BOYLE, Program Officer

TAMARA DAWSON, Program Associate

JESSICA WOLFMAN, Senior Program Assistant

LAURA LLANOS, Financial Associate

Page viii Cite
Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. The Use of Dispersants in Marine Oil Spill Response. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25161.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. The Use of Dispersants in Marine Oil Spill Response. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25161.
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Acknowledgments

This Consensus Study Report was reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine in making each published report as sound as possible and to ensure that it meets the institutional standards for quality, objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process.

We thank the following individuals for their review of this report:

MACE BARRON, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Gulf Breeze, Florida

C. J. BEEGLE-KRAUSE, SINTEF Ocean AS, Trondheim, Norway

ROBERT DICKEY, The University of Texas at Austin, Port Aransas

JOSEPH KATZ, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland

NANCY KINNER, University of New Hampshire, Durham

MAUREEN LICHTVELD, Tulane University, New Orleans, Louisiana

JACQUELINE MICHEL, Research Planning, Inc., Columbia, South Carolina

ROGER PRINCE, ExxonMobil Biomedical Sciences, Inc., Annandale, New Jersey (Retired)

CHRISTOPHER REDDY, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Massachusetts

DANNY REIBLE, Texas Tech University, Lubbock

TOM PARKERTON, ExxonMobil Biomedical Sciences, Inc., Spring, Texas

ANN HAYWARD WALKER, SEA Consulting Group, Cape Charles, Virginia

Although the reviewers listed above provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the conclusions or recommendations of this report, nor did they see the final draft before its release. The review of this report was overseen by CARYS MITCHELMORE, University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, and RICHARD LUTHY, Stanford University. They were responsible for making certain that an

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. The Use of Dispersants in Marine Oil Spill Response. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25161.
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independent examination of this report was carried out in accordance with the standards of the National Academies and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content rests entirely with the authoring committee and the National Academies.

The committee would also like to thank Scott Socolofsky, Texas A&M University, and Jonas Gros, GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel, Germany, for their expertise and consulting.

Furthermore, the committee expresses gratitude to those that participated in public meetings and others who provided written comments and information.

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. The Use of Dispersants in Marine Oil Spill Response. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25161.
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Whether the result of an oil well blowout, vessel collision or grounding, leaking pipeline, or other incident at sea, each marine oil spill will present unique circumstances and challenges. The oil type and properties, location, time of year, duration of spill, water depth, environmental conditions, affected biomes, potential human community impact, and available resources may vary significantly. Also, each spill may be governed by policy guidelines, such as those set forth in the National Response Plan, Regional Response Plans, or Area Contingency Plans. To respond effectively to the specific conditions presented during an oil spill, spill responders have used a variety of response options—including mechanical recovery of oil using skimmers and booms, in situ burning of oil, monitored natural attenuation of oil, and dispersion of oil by chemical dispersants. Because each response method has advantages and disadvantages, it is important to understand specific scenarios where a net benefit may be achieved by using a particular tool or combination of tools.

This report builds on two previous National Research Council reports on dispersant use to provide a current understanding of the state of science and to inform future marine oil spill response operations. The response to the 2010 Deepwater Horizon spill included an unprecedented use of dispersants via both surface application and subsea injection. The magnitude of the spill stimulated interest and funding for research on oil spill response, and dispersant use in particular. This study assesses the effects and efficacy of dispersants as an oil spill response tool and evaluates trade-offs associated with dispersant use.

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