Researchers from the Hopkins Marine Station at Stanford University and from the University of Manchester(UK) have found cancer-causing phenanthrene in the cardiac systems of various types of sea life exposed to the infamous Deepwater Horizon spill of 2010. The hydrocarbon is also commonly found in automobile petroleum products. Biologists found that these polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, or PAHs, obscure the creatures’ ability to monitor heartbeats.
These PAHs are commonplace in car oil as well as other petroleum products, and therefore abundant in the surrounding earth, water, and air. Scientists are beginning to suspect a correlation between hydrocarbons and the onset of heart disease. In 2008, one in four deaths in the U.S. were traced to heart disease.
As of March 2017, there has been no corporate coverage regarding the danger of PAHs in gasoline.
Source: Fabien Brette, Holly A. Shiels, Gina L. J. Galli, Caroline Cros, John P. Incardona, Nathaniel L. Scholz, and Barbara A. Block, “A Novel Cardiotoxic Mechanism for a Pervasive Global Pollutant,” Scientific Reports, January 31, 2017, http://www.nature.com/articles/srep41476.
Student Researcher: Sophia-Michelle Mottershead (College of Marin)
Faculty Evaluator: Susan Rahman (College of Marin)