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No health concerns from North Sea spill

Sept. 12, 2011 at 9:10 AM

EDINBURGH, Scotland, Sept. 12 (UPI) -- An examination of fish, sediment and water from the area surrounding August's oil spill in the North Sea found no outstanding health concerns, Scotland said.

Shell near the end of August said divers had stopped the flow of oil from its Gannet platform in the North Sea. A subsea leak had released about 1,500 barrels of oil when it was reported Aug. 10 but the escaping amount had slowed to less than one barrel per day.

Scottish scientists in reviewing data from the North Sea said they found no lingering effects from the Gannet spill.

"I'm pleased that we now have the all-clear, with results showing concentrations of hydrocarbons are low and within safe limits," Scottish Environment Secretary Richard Lochhead said in a statement.

He added there weren't any major affects on wildfowl in the area.

Edinburgh used specially trained food tasters to complement analytical methods and determine if there were detectable traces of crude oil in fish samples.

"Marine Scotland Science uses the latest methods and technology to measure pollution levels but sometimes the sensitivity of the human tongue can prove a more effective and efficient indicator than the most high-tech equipment," Lochhead said.

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