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as france pressed on with mopping-up operations to cleanse parts of its Atlantic coastline polluted by an oil spill recently, a Dutch orinthologist said that oil from the sunken tanker Erika may contain cancer-causing additives.
French president Jacques Chiraq, who toured the area along the coast which was badly damaged by the spill, called for laws to make the ship-owners and oil companies pay for causing the pollution.
The Dutch agency anp, quoting Dick Jongman, director of the Fogelpits Bird Study Centre in northern Anjum, France, said not only birds but clean-up workers had also been exposed to the potentially carcinogenic chemicals.
The centre has been treating birds affected by the spill, which had taken place on December 12, 1999. Workers said they had obtained a copy of an analysis done on the fuel oil and were studying it.
While not identifying the exact chemical composition, the centre said a paste appeared to separate from the oil before sinking to the seabed, where it would lie until storms and other forms of turbulence eventually force it up to the sea surface.