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Substance in crude oil harms fish hearts, could affect humans as well

Monterey Bay Aquarium
Jan 31 2017

Posted In:

Research, Faculty

Research from Stanford University’s Hopkins Marine Station has identified a substance in oil that’s to blame for the cardiotoxicity seen in fish exposed to crude oil spills. More than a hazard for marine life exposed to oil, the contaminant this team identified is abundant in air pollution and could pose a global threat to human health. Experiments led by Professor Barbara Block provide direct evidence of how phenanthrene, an oil pollutant found in water, air and soil, causes irregular heartbeat and weaker contractions of heart cells. The study was published in the Jan. 31 issue of Scientific Reports.