Long-Term Effects of Oil Pollution More Significant Than Previously Believed

News -
11 Feb 2004 - 18 Jan 2016
A paper in the journal Science has challenged the widely-held assumption that oil spills, such as the one that contaminated Alaska's Prince William Sound almost fifteen years ago, have only short-term impacts on coastal marine ecosystems. The review synthesized results of a series of studies of the impact of the March 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill in Prince William Sound, and found, says lead author Charles H. Peterson of University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, that ""oil has persisted in surprisingly large quantities for years ... in subsurface reservoirs under coarse intertidal sediments. This oil was sequestered in conditions where weathering by wave action, light and bacteria was inhibited, and toxicity remained for a decade or more.""