Researchers Find 40-Fold Increase in Carcinogenic Compounds in Gulf

By Dan Froomkin
Huffington Post

Researchers testing the waters off Louisiana in June found hugely elevated levels of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, or PAHs, some of which are known carcinogens. The researchers from Oregon State University say that a device taking samples just off the shore of Louisiana’s Grande Isle registered a 40-fold increase in PAHs between May and June.

What’s worse is that the sampling device was specifically designed to measure the fraction of PAHs in the environment that could make their way through a biological membrane.

“This is a measure of what would enter into an organism,” said Kim Anderson, an OSU professor of environmental and molecular toxicology.

“There was a huge increase of PAHs that are bio-available to the organisms — and that means they can essentially be uptaken by organisms throughout the food chain.”

Anderson said that water samples taken off the Mississippi, Alabama and Florida coasts — as well as air samples taken along the coast — also showed elevated levels of PAHs, but not nearly of the same magnitude.

Samples from July were lost; Anderson is now testing samples taken in August. The operative question is how many of the PAHs have biodegraded in the interim. BP’s blowout sent somewhere between 4 and 5 million barrels of oil into the Gulf’s waters between April 20 and July 15.

Read the full post at Huffington Post

One response to “Researchers Find 40-Fold Increase in Carcinogenic Compounds in Gulf

  1. Pingback: Researchers Find 40-Fold Increase in Carcinogenic Compounds in Gulf (via Food Freedom) « OntheWilderSide

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