(Sept. 30) — 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.”