Offshore experiments on styrene spillage in marine waters for risk assessment
Within the context of risk evaluation of chemical spillages into the marine environment, this paper reports on an offshore experiment to study the behaviour of styrene spilled into sea under natural conditions and discusses theoretical approaches. Floating structures were used to enclose the spillage and the gaseous cloud formation, and dissolution processes were in situ monitored. The identification of spill risks for man and marine environment through GESAMP’s hazard profile is described for styrene: Styrene is rated as a chemical with a significant health hazard that will float but also evaporate. However, monitoring of the water column in the experiments showed that the concentration of styrene in water during the first hour represents 50% of the product spilled. For the potentially exposed public, the GESAMP hazard rating recommends the closure of beaches and evacuation. The risk assessment developed from experimental data confirms this safety advice.