According to a new study, researchers have detected oil from the 2010 BP oil spill in the food chain.
While many of us may not have thought about the infamous BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico since it occurred in 2010, its immense impact is still being studied. According to a new study, researchers have detected oil from the disastrous spill in the food chain.
The oil was ingested by zooplankton—tiny organisms found in the oceans that inhabit the very bottom of the food chain, eaten by shrimp and baby fish. Because of this, the researchers say that it is likely making its way up the food chain to larger and larger animals. Of course, humans are at the very top of the food chain. And alarmingly, the study shows that the oil continued to enter the food web even after the well was capped.
This is hardly the first time human-made toxins have found their way into the food chain; cigarettes and plastics are two examples of harmful chemicals impacting the environment in ways we did not intend. Finding oil from the BP disaster in the food chain is just another example of the interconnectedness of every species on this planet, and a demonstration of just how fragile the ecosystem really is.
What’s in oil?
Oil has several different chemical components, including hydrocarbons such as harmful polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs).
Interestingly, the unique chemical makeup of each type of oil allows scientists to pinpoint the source of the oil found in the food chain, a “fingerprint” that other researchers can use in future studies.