HC Deb 23 March 1967 vol 743 c323W
Mr. Nott

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what studies have been made into the toxic effects on white fish and shell fish of the emulsifier which is used to clear oil pollution at sea.

Mr. Hoy

Controlled experiments on the effect of detergents and emulsifiers have been made only on shellfish at the Ministry's Fisheries Laboratory at Burnham-on-Crouch, but observations have also been made to determine the effects of these chemicals on both fish and shellfish following oil spills in the Medway and Poole Harbour. The particular emulsifier now being used has not been tested, but it is similar in composition to some of those which have been tested, and all the chemicals showed broadly comparable toxicities.

Although these chemicals are highly toxic, the risk to fish in the open sea is very small because of the enormous dilution that occurs. In estuaries and other places where dilution and dispersal is less, care must be taken in the use of the chemicals, particularly as regards shellfish which cannot move away from the contaminated area.