Navigation Links
Marine chemist says 'not so fast' to quick oil detection method

A new method for assessing environmental contamination after oil spills is in danger of being applied in situations where it doesn't work and might produce false conclusions, a scientist at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) has warned.

Private firms and government agencies have recently started using long strands of absorbent polypropylene snares, also called pom-poms, as a means to check for contamination of the seafloor in the wake of an oil spill. The method is becoming popular because it is rapid and low-cost.

But according to WHOI marine chemist Christopher Reddy, the approach may give a false sense of security. In a recently published letter to the Marine Pollution Bulletin, Reddy notes that while the pom-pom method is effective in locating areas where excessive amounts of oil have sunk to the bottom, it does not necessarily identify the fractions and compounds of oil that can linger in sediments and have long-term impacts on ecosystems and public health.

Following a 2004 oil spill in the Delaware River, emergency response crews employed the new pom-pom method to quickly determine the locations of large oil patches on the river floor. The information was invaluable for the emergency response and cleanup.

After the M/V Cosco Busan oil spill in San Francisco Bay in November 2007, the pom-pom method was used again. But this time, the goal was to determine if sediments near the Port of Oakland were safe to be dredged and re-used in restoration projects.

This approach is flawed, Reddy wrote. It relies on the assumption that the lack of visible oil on the snaresindicates a total lack of oil contamination in the sedimentWhile testing of sediments with snares delivers rapid, low-cost data, it is only an indicator of gross contamination.

Before this approach becomes standard practice for determining whether sediments have been contaminated at levels that may impact ecosystems, Reddy added, prudence dictates much more rigorous testing of the test itself.


Contact: Media Relations
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

Related biology news :

1. Scientists reveal the lifestyle evolution of wild marine bacteria
2. New whale detection buoys will help ships take the right way through marine habitat
3. Arctic marine mammals on thin ice
4. Researchers to develop ocean sanctuary noise budget to evaluate potential impact on marine mammals
5. Pew Institute teams with Chantecaille Cosmetics to protect global marine life
6. Marine bacterias mealtime dash is a swimming success
7. International team announces discovery of massive Jurassic marine reptile
8. Can Dungeness crab and eelgrass help improve management of our marine resources?
9. Genome of marine organism tells of humans unicellular ancestors
10. First map of threats to marine ecosystems shows all the worlds oceans are affected
11. Worlds largest marine protected area created in Pacific Ocean
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/16/2015)... SAN JOSE, Calif. , Nov 16, 2015 ... leading developer of human interface solutions, today announced ... new Synaptics TouchView ™ touch controller and ... the architectural revolution of smartphones. These new TDDI ... and include TD4100 (HD resolution), TD4302 (WQHD resolution), ...
(Date:11/10/2015)... Nov. 10, 2015  In this report, ... basis of product, type, application, disease indication, ... this report are consumables, services, software. The ... safety biomarkers, efficacy biomarkers, and validation biomarkers. ... are diagnostics development, drug discovery and development, ...
(Date:11/2/2015)... PARK, Calif. , Nov. 2, 2015  SRI ... $9 million to provide preclinical development services to the ... the contract, SRI will provide scientific expertise, modern testing ... wide variety of preclinical pharmacology and toxicology studies to ... --> The PREVENT Cancer Drug Development ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/24/2015)... , Nov. 24, 2015 /PRNewswire/ - Aeterna Zentaris Inc. ... IIROC on behalf of the Toronto Stock Exchange, confirms ... there are no corporate developments that would cause the ... --> --> About Aeterna Zentaris ... . --> Aeterna Zentaris is a specialty ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... 2015 SHPG ) announced today that ... Jaffray 27 th Annual Healthcare Conference in New ... 8:30 a.m. EST (1:30 p.m. GMT). --> SHPG ) ... participate in the Piper Jaffray 27 th Annual Healthcare Conference ... December 1, 2015, at 8:30 a.m. EST (1:30 p.m. GMT). ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... Urdorf, Switzerland (PRWEB) , ... November 24, 2015 ... ... the plant and the environment are paramount. Insertion points for in-line sensors can ... TOLEDO has developed the InTrac 781/784 series of retractable sensor housings , ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... Nov. 24, 2015 HemoShear Therapeutics, LLC, ... drugs for metabolic disorders, announced today the appointment ... Board of Directors (BOD). Mr. Watkins is the ... Genome Sciences (HGS), and also served as the ... Jim Powers , Chairman and CEO of HemoShear ...
Breaking Biology Technology: