BP Oil Spill Study Examines Pollutants
January 13th, 2016
A new study into the effects of the BP oil spill will determine the presence and concentration of various toxic chemicals that still remain in the Gulf of Mexico. Researchers at the University of Central Florida will track the presence of chemicals known as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), which have been linked to cancer and genetic mutations. The research team recently receive $1.5 million in grants to study the lasting effects of the BP oil spill on wildlife in the Gulf.
Details of the BP Oil Spill
The 2010 BP oil spill was the largest environmental disaster on record. On April 20, 2010, the Deepwater Horizon offshore oil rig exploded, killing 11 workers and injuring more than 40 others. The BP oil spill released more than 200 million gallons of crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico. Workers finally sealed the pipeline 87 days after the spill. The effects of the spill spread from Texas all the way to Florida. Damage from the spill ranged from destroyed wildlife habitats to ruined fishing and oyster harvests.
BP Oil Spill Study Looks at PAHs
The UCF BP oil spill study will look for the presence of PAHs in the Gulf waters. Although scientists believe that hundreds of PAHs may be present in the polluted waters, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency tracks only 16 of them. University of Central Florida chemistry professor Andres Campiglia, one of the leaders of the BP oil spill study, told reporters that some of the PAHs the group expects to find in the Gulf may actually be more dangerous than those on the EPA watch list.
Effects of PAHs from BP Oil Spill
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, humans can be exposed to PAHs from the incomplete burning of hydrocarbons, such as coal, oil and natural gas. Studies have shown that pregnant mice exposed to high levels of PAH have difficulty conceiving. When they do conceive, their offspring have low birth weights and fertility issues. Studies from the Department of Health and Human Services have shown that some PAHs can cause cancers of the lung, stomach and skin.
BP Oil Spill Study May Find “Forgotten” PAHs
The object of the BP oil spill study will be to find PAHs that are not on the EPA’s list. These “forgotten” PAHs have a heavier atomic weight, which can lead to them sinking to the ocean floor. As they remain on the ocean floor, they can cause genetic mutations in the sea life that feed at lower depths. The researchers will use lasers to obtain the “spectral fingerprints” of each compound. Dr. Campiglia told reporters that the BP oil spill study will give scientists “unambiguous identification” of these chemicals.
Know Your Rights In A BP Oil Spill Lawsuit
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NOTE: This blog post is a news story and does not imply an endorsement of the Amaro Law Firm by any parties mentioned herein.