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American Chemical Society's weekly PressPac -- Jan. 9, 2008
Date:1/14/2008

Here is the latest American Chemical Society (ACS) News Service Weekly PressPac with news from ACS 36 peer-reviewed journals and Chemical & Engineering News. Please credit the individual journal or the American Chemical Society as the source for this information.

ALL CONTENT IS FOR IMMEDIATE USE EXCEPT ARTICLE #5, which is embargoed for 9 A. M., Eastern Time, Jan. 14, 2008.

ARTICLE #1 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Seagull blood shows promise for monitoring pollutants from oil spills
Environmental Science & Technology

Like the proverbial coal miners canary-in-the-cage, seagulls may become living sentinels to monitor oil pollution levels in marine environments, report scientists in Spain. Their study is scheduled for the Feb. 1 issue of ACS Environmental Science & Technology, a semi-monthly journal.

In the study, Alberto Velando and colleagues note that researchers have known for years that large oil spills can increase levels of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in marine environments. Studies have linked these compounds to cancer in humans. While oil spills quickly kill large numbers of seabirds and other animals, scientists do not fully understand the non-lethal biological effects of these spills, the Spanish researchers say.

The researchers measured PAH levels in the blood of Yellow-legged gulls living in the vicinity of the oil spill caused by the 2002 shipwreck of the Prestige, one of Europes largest oil spills. Gulls exposed to the oil showed twice the levels of PAHs in their blood than unexposed birds, even though these levels were measured 17 months after the initial spill, the researchers say. The findings give support to the nondestructive use of seabirds as biomonitors of oil pollution in marine environments, the article states. - MTS

ARTICLE #1 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Monitoring Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbon Pollution in Marine Environment after the Prestig
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Contact: Michael Woods
m_woods@acs.org
202-872-4400
American Chemical Society
Source:Eurekalert  

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