BURNABY, British Columbia, April 20 (UPI) — Canadian scientists say lingering oil from the 1989 Exxon Valdez spill is still inflicting suffering on wildlife more than 20 years after the disaster.
Simon Fraser University researchers in British Columbia said they used biomarkers to reveal long-term exposure to oil in wildlife. They said their findings demonstrate how the consequences of oil spills are measured in decades, rather than years.
The Exxon Valdez tanker ran aground on the Prince William Sound in Alaska March 24, 1989, spilling 10.8 million gallons of crude oil into the sea, covering 1,300 square miles. It is still regarded as one of the most devastating human-caused contamination events in history.
The international team of scientists, led by researcher Daniel Esler of the university’s Center for Wildlife Ecology, used the biomarker CYP1A, which is induced upon exposure to crude oil, to measure prolonged exposure to oil in local wildlife populations.
The study appears in the journal Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry.
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