A study was conducted to assess the effect of dispersants on the incorporation of volatile liquid hydrocarbons (C//5-C//1//4) into the water column from surface oil slicks. A laboratory tank was used to vary a number of parameters including oil type, dispersant type, time of dispersant application, wind speed, and temperature. Water samples removed from an underwater sampling port indicated that the light aromatics (e. g. , benzene to xylene) were the dominant compounds introduced into the water from dispersed oil. At lower temperatures a decreased amount of volatile liquid hydrocarbons (VLH) was incorporated into the water column because of lower solubility. Wind speed had little effect on the amount of VLH incorporated into the water column within the experimental design. The chemical and physical properties of the oil exerted important influences on the type and concentration of VLH detected in the water column.