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Are HNS spills more dangerous than oil spills? (2009)
22 May 2014
Dr Karen Purnell, Managing Director, ITOPF
A White Paper for the Interspill Conference & 4th IMO R&D Forum, Marseille, May 2009.
While the hazards and consequences of oil spills are well known, little information exists for chemical spills. Words such as 'carcinogenic', 'mutagenic', and 'neurotoxic', which appear on shipping documents, are readily misinterpreted and extrapolated to worst-case scenarios causing public apprehension and mistrust. This paper attempts to answer the question 'Are HNS spills more dangerous than oil spills?' by reviewing the current arrangements for prevention, preparedness and response and evaluating these against the potential for serious harm from HNS and lessons learned from past incidents, including knowledge from studies of chemical spills at sea.