Oil burning in Gulf of Mexico creates dioxins

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Burning oil to clean up the Gulf of Mexico oil spill released small amounts of dioxins, but did not increase the risk of cancer to residential along the Gulf coast, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said Friday.

Controlled burning of oil on the surface of the ocean was a method used by the United Command during the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, to reduce the spread of oil and environmental impacts at the shoreline.

A total of 411 controlled burn events occurred during the oil spill, resulting in the combustion of an estimated 9.3 to 13.1 million gallons of oil, a report released Friday by the EPA said.

Dioxins were created from the burning of oil, but they were created at low levels similar to the emissions from residential woodstoves and forest fires, according to the report.

Dioxins are a category that describes a group of hundreds of potentially cancer-causing chemicals that can be formed during combustion or burning.

Another report, also released Friday by the EPA, said that increased cancer risk due to exposure to the dioxins released from the controlled oil burning of oil was small -- less than 1 in 1,000,000 increased cancer risk.


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