TitleImpact of the deepwater horizon oil spill on bioavailable polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in Gulf of Mexico coastal waters.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2012
AuthorsAllan, SE, Smith, BW, Anderson, KA
JournalEnviron Sci Technol
Date Published2012 Feb 21
KeywordsEnvironmental Monitoring, Gulf of Mexico, Petroleum Pollution, Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons, Water Pollutants, Chemical

An estimated 4.1 million barrels of oil and 2.1 million gallons of dispersants were released into the Gulf of Mexico during the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. There is a continued need for information about the impacts and long-term effects of the disaster on the Gulf of Mexico. The objectives of this study were to assess bioavailable polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in the coastal waters of four Gulf Coast states that were impacted by the spill. For over a year, beginning in May 2010, passive sampling devices were used to monitor the bioavailable concentration of PAHs. Prior to shoreline oiling, baseline data were obtained at all the study sites, allowing for direct before and after comparisons of PAH contamination. Significant increases in bioavailable PAHs were seen following the oil spill, however, preoiling levels were observed at all sites by March 2011. A return to elevated PAH concentrations, accompanied by a chemical fingerprint similar to that observed while the site was being impacted by the spill, was observed in Alabama in summer 2011. Chemical forensic modeling demonstrated that elevated PAH concentrations are associated with distinctive chemical profiles.

Alternate JournalEnviron. Sci. Technol.
PubMed ID22321043
PubMed Central IDPMC3471659
Grant ListP30 ES000210 / ES / NIEHS NIH HHS / United States
P42 ES016465 / ES / NIEHS NIH HHS / United States
R21 ES020120 / ES / NIEHS NIH HHS / United States