Feds: Spilled-Oil Burns Posed Little Health Risk, Associated Press, November 12, 2010:
Federal scientists say burning oil to clean up the massive Gulf spill released small amounts of toxins, but not enough to pose an added cancer risk to workers and coastal residents. ...
Research released Friday by the EPA found concentrations of cancer-causing dioxins in 27 smoke plumes similar to those created by woodstoves or forest fires.
Little cancer risk from dioxin released during controlled burning of BP oil, new EPA studies conclude, Mark Schleifstein for The Times-Picayune, November 12, 2010:
However, the results are based on tests of a single composite sample of material captured in the plumes of 27 fires during four days in July, according to a separate paper describing the collection process, and the scientists writing that paper expressed concerns about the adequacy of the sampling. ...
[The sampling occurred] between July 13 and July 16. The offshore in-situ burns were credited with destroying between 220,000 and 310,000 barrels of oil from April 28 to July 19.
"This single sample contained less carbon than was projected to be necessary for PCDD/PCDF analysis," said the study authored by Johanna Aurell, a National Research Council post-doctoral fellow with EPA, and Brian Gullett, a researcher with EPA's National Risk Management Research Laboratory.
"... by July 15 the well leak had been capped, the surfaceoil had diminised and the sea state prevented further sustainable in situ burns," the study said. The total amount of carbon collected in the four days of sampling "was less than that desired for a single sample... and the sole sample from the field was short of the targeted number of three samples for the campaign."
See the EPA's press release and report information here.