Move to ban scrubbers afoot because they pump pollutants into the sea
UNITED NATIONS pollution regulations could harm humans by contaminating fish and crustaceans with toxins, according UN's International Maritime Organisation (IMO), reports the London Guardian
20 February 2020 - 19:00
The report said there is insufficient 'toxicity data' to be able to assess the risk to humans cause by the increased use of scrubbers, which increase the amount of pollutants pumped into the sea, reports the London Guardian.
Shipping companies have spent more than US$12 billion fitting thousands of scrubbers on vessels around the world in order to meet new air pollution standards that were introduced last month.
Some of the pollutants deemed most concerning by experts that are pumped into the sea by scrubbers are polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), which have been linked to skin, lung, bladder, liver and stomach cancers.
In its report, the IMO says 'carrying out a preliminary risk assessment [on the PAH emissions from scrubbers] was not possible considering the available information' and warns that 'secondary poisoning (via consumption of seafood) had been mentioned as a likely exposure route for humans'.
Critics say IMO member states should have conducted thorough risk assessments before deciding to allow the use of scrubbers under the new legislation.
Lucy Gilliam, a campaigner for the Brussels-based NGO Transport & Environment, says the IMO should stop the use of scrubbers until it can answer key questions about how discharges may affect health.
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