Published on Tuesday, April 23, 2013 by Common Dreams

Mayflower, Arkansas residents say tests prove tar sands has reached Lake Conway as chemist issues warnings of health effects

– Andrea Germanos, staff writer

Tar sands crude flows into waterways following ExxonMobil’s Mayflower spill. (Photo: NWFblogs/flickr)Community members are rejecting ExxonMobil’s claim that tar sands crude hasn’t reached Lake Conway, while a chemist is warning that toxic emissions in the wake of the March 29 pipeline rupture that spewed over 200,00 gallons of heavy crude in Mayflower, Arkansas are making people sick.

On Friday, ExxonMobil continued to issue statements that “Water sampling confirms that the main body of Lake Conway and Palarm Creek remain oil-free.”

Not so, say community members and independent tests.

Scott Smith, CEO of oil spill cleaning products company Opflex Solutions, did preliminary water tests on the lake and said Monday, “I have found methylene chloride and barium in concentrations indicative of tar sands oil.”

He also warned that “the tar sands are not only in Lake Conway, but are moving beyond Lake Conway and toward the Arkansas River.”

The new tests challenge ExxonMobil’s tweaked message that the tar sands hadn’t reached the main body of Lake Conway.  KTHV-11 adds:

Smith said preliminary findings indicate the presence of tar sands oil in Lake Conway, both in “the cove” of Lake Conway and in the larger lake beyond the cove.

Chemist and environmental activist Wilma Subra, who cautioned that health effects following the 2010 Gulf oil disaster were greater and longer lasting than reported, added further warnings that toxic chemicals, including the carcinogen benzene, are in the air following the Mayflower spill and are making residents sick.

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