On February 27, 2007 thousands of gallons of a toxic chemical spilled into the Ohio River between Illinois and Kentucky after a barge collide with a lock wall. The spill late Tuesday was estimated to be up to 8,000 gallons of a petroleum-based substance called cumene, said Maggie Carson, a state EPA spokeswoman.
Kirby Inland Marine, the Houston-based owner, said the barge crashed into the guide wall of a lock that helps manage water flow. State officials earlier said it had run aground. The barge was en route from the Gulf of Mexico to a port somewhere in the Midwest, a company official stated.
Contact with cumene can irritate skin and eyes, cause headaches in humans if inhaled, and be damaging to animals directly exposed to it. It is used in a variety of petroleum products, manufacturing, as paint thinner and as a component of high-octane fuels, according to the EPA Web site. Cumene is used in a variety of petroleum products. Acute (short-term) inhalation exposure to cumene may cause headaches, dizziness, drowsiness, slight incoordination, and unconsciousness in humans.
Cumene has a potent central nervous system (CNS) depressant action characterized by a slow induction period and long duration of narcotic effects in animals. Cumene is a skin and eye irritant. No information is available on the chronic (long-term), reproductive, developmental, or carcinogenic effects of cumene in humans. Animal studies have reported increased liver, kidney, and adrenal weights from inhalation exposure to cumene. EPA has classified cumene as a Group D, not classifiable as to human carcinogenicity.
The U.S. Coast Guard categorizes oil spills into three sizes: Minor; less than 1,000 gallons; Medium; 1,000 to 9,999 gallons; and Major, 10,000 gallons or more. Major spills are the largest contributor, medium spills are somewhat significant, and the minor spills (most are under 100 gallons) are insignificant.
Legal Help For Victims Affected By Toxic Barge Spill
If you or a loved one has experienced health ailments as a result of this toxic chemical barge spill, please fill out the form at the right for a response from a qualified attorney. Additionally, Call 1-800-YOURLAWYER for a free evaluation.