Oil spills destroy marine environments and wreak havoc on human population. Oil spills are one of the worst environmental disasters causing both short-term and long-term pollutant side effects include dead and dying wildlife, tarred beaches, damaged fisheries and contaminated water supplies. Toxic substances from oil spills can remain in land and water for years. It takes only one quart of oil to pollute approximately 150,000 gallons of water.
Crude oil contains numerous materials that pose both short-term and long-term dangers to humans, including benzene and chemicals called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, or PAHs. Short-term exposure to benzene causes dizziness and nausea, and long-term exposure has been linked to leukemia and other maladies, according to the EPA. The EPA says some PAH chemicals are carcinogens.
The demand for oil becomes greater and greater each day. Oil is drilled from the ground, treated, transported and stored. There are many steps in this process during which oil can spill from wellheads, drill rigs, tankers, pipelines and storage tanks. Oil can leak from ocean-going ships during accidental and deliberate spills.
Oil spills can happen on land or water when oil is incorrectly handled, there are railway or truck accidents, tankers or barges collide, the insides of tankers are washed, and when natural oil deposits seep. Additionally, when people change the oil in their cars, they dump the used, dirty oil on the ground or down the storm sewer. When it rains the oil with the metals and particles from the car engine flows into streams and creeks.
Kansas Oil Spill
A massive oil spill at the Coffeyville Resources Refinery has left thousands of residents in Kansas and Oklahoma dealing with a horrible environmental and economic disaster. Property damage, illness and environmental cleanup are just the tip of the iceberg for what the people and business in the area are now facing as a result of the oil spill in Kansas. During heavy flooding a pumping malfunction allowed at least 42,000 gallons of oil to spew out of the plant causing an oil slick to travel down the Verdigris River.
The Exxon Valdez
The Exxon Valdez was the worst oil spill in U.S. history. It took place in March 1989 in Prince William Sound, Alaska. An estimated 11 million gallons (260,000 barrels) of oil spilled from the tanker. It spread out to 900 miles of shoreline. Cleanup costs of this spill exceeded $2 billion.
Legal Rights for Victims of Oil Spills
If you or a loved one suffered serious health issues from an oil spill, please fill out the form at the right for a free case evaluation by a qualified pollutants attorney or call us at 1-800-YOURLAWYER (1-800-968-7529).