Several methods of identifying the source of oil pollution are critically examined. These methods are grouped into two categories: passive tagging and active tagging. Passive tagging assumes that oils are so chemically diverse that their contents constitute a stable chemical fingerprint that can be unequivocally disclosed in the laboratory. Active tagging requires that an inexpensive, coded material be added to oil; this material must be chemically and physically stable in both oil and oil slicks; it must also be readily identifiable by available analytical techniques; and it must have no adverse effect on the oils subsequent use. Three methods of passive tagging ( trace metals, sulfur-isotope ratios, and paper chromatography ) and three methods of active tagging ( halogenated polycyclic aromatics, organometallics, and coded microspheroids ) have been examined. Passive tags cannot be recommended because the passive tags are quite likely to mingle, to evaporate, to be dissolved, or to be oxidized; even if these do not occur, they can create formidable forensic problems for the prosecution and telling counter-arguments for the defense. Since active tags are designed to be stable and identifiable, they are satisfactory for the job; and the three types of active tags reviewed show promise and merit. ( Contract 14-12-500 )

  • Corporate Authors:

    E-Systems Incorporated, Melpar Division

    7700 Arlington Boulevard
    Arlington, VA  United States  22046
  • Publication Date: 1970-5

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00019654
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: Environmental Protection Agency
  • Report/Paper Numbers: Final Rpt
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Dec 1 1973 12:00AM