Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Cleaning Up Oil Spills Can Kill More Fish Than Spills Themselves

Date:
March 17, 2009
Source:
Queen's University
Summary:
A new study shows that detergents used to clean up spills of diesel oil actually increase its toxicity to fish, making it more harmful.

Closeup of an oil slick in water with fall colors in the grass on the shore.
Credit: iStockphoto

A new Queen's University study shows that detergents used to clean up spills of diesel oil actually increase its toxicity to fish, making it more harmful.

Related Articles


"The detergents may be the best way to treat spills in the long term because the dispersed oil is diluted and degraded," says Biology professor Peter Hodson. "But in the short term, they increase the bioavailability and toxicity of the fuel to rainbow trout by 100-fold."

The detergents are oil dispersants that decrease the surface tension between oil and water, allowing floating oil to mix with water as tiny droplets. Dr. Hodson and his team found that dispersion reduces the potential impacts of oil on surface-dwelling animals, While this should enhance biodegradation, it also creates a larger reservoir of oil in the water column.

This increases the transfer of hydrocarbons from oil to water, Dr. Hodson explains. The hydrocarbons pass easily from water into tissues and are deadly to fish in the early stages of life. "This could seriously impair the health of fish populations, resulting in long-term reductions in economic returns to fisheries," he says.

The study is published in the journal, Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry.

The researchers also determined that even though chemical dispersants are not typically used in freshwater, turbulent rivers can disperse spilled diesel and create similar negative effects.

"It doesn't matter if the oil is being dispersed by chemicals or by the current," says Dr. Hodson. "Now that we know how deadly dispersed oil is, it is important to assess the risks of diesel spills to fish and fisheries in terms of the spill location, and the timing relative to fish spawning and development."

Funding for the study was provided by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) and by Petroleum Research Atlantic Canada. Also on the research team are Allison Schein and Jason Scott from Queen's School of Environmental Studies and environmental consultant Lizzy Mos.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Queen's University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Queen's University. "Cleaning Up Oil Spills Can Kill More Fish Than Spills Themselves." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 March 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090316101430.htm>.
Queen's University. (2009, March 17). Cleaning Up Oil Spills Can Kill More Fish Than Spills Themselves. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 28, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090316101430.htm
Queen's University. "Cleaning Up Oil Spills Can Kill More Fish Than Spills Themselves." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090316101430.htm (accessed March 28, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Earth & Climate News

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Antarctic Ice Is Melting Faster Than Ever

Antarctic Ice Is Melting Faster Than Ever

Newsy (Mar. 27, 2015) A new study of nearly two decades of satellite data shows Antarctic ice shelves are losing more mass faster every year. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Homes Near Landslide in Washington

Raw: Homes Near Landslide in Washington

AP (Mar. 27, 2015) Aerial footage from KOMO shows several homes near a landslide in Washington. KOMO reports that at least one of the homes has been damaged. (March 27) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Clean-Up Follows Deadly Weather in Okla.

Clean-Up Follows Deadly Weather in Okla.

AP (Mar. 26, 2015) Gov. Mary Fallin has declared a state of emergency for 25 Oklahoma counties after powerful storms rumbled across the state causing one death, numerous injuries and widespread damage. (March 26) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
At Least Four Dead After Floods in Northern Chile

At Least Four Dead After Floods in Northern Chile

Reuters - News Video Online (Mar. 26, 2015) At least four people have been killed by severe flooding in northern Chile after rains battered the Andes mountains and swept into communities below. Rob Muir reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins