Toxic Tar Sands: Coming to a City Near You

8631310158_bc20b6bc9f_oArkansas residents are suing Exxon Mobil for spewing 5,000 barrels of toxic tar sands oil into the small town of Mayflower, AR.

Pegasus, the offending pipeline, is a 65-year-old monstrosity that transports crude oil from Canada between Texas and Illinois.  When the pipeline burst, residents were evacuated and prohibited from filming/photographing the scene as cleanup crews attempted to sop up the spill with paper towels.  (More on that here).

According to Renee Sharp, director of research at the Environmental Working Group, “A single sample of tar sands oil included chemicals that cause cancer in humans and produce serious and permanent birth defects in children.”  These include but are not limited to:

Benzene – human carcinogen

Xylene – nervous system toxin

Chromium – carcinogen; teratogen

Toluene – kidney and nervous system toxin; teratogen

Lead – brain toxin (causes irreversible brain damage in children)

Ethylbenzene – carcinogen; developmental toxin

Once the Keystone XL pipeline project is underway, the “accident” in Arkansas could happen in towns and cities across the country.   It’s far from an isolated incident.  Maybe those tree-hugging hippies aren’t so crazy after all?

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