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Assessing Toxicity of Oil Weathered on the Sea Surface: The Importance of Oil Photo-Products

Implementing Organization

Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences


DWH Project Funding


Known Leveraged Funding


Funding Organization

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine – Gulf Research Program (NASEM - GRP)

Funding Program

NASEM Gulf Research Program Grants


Project Category


Project Actions

Chemical Aspects Research

Targeted Resources


Project Description

Oil floating at the ocean surface during an oil spill interacts with sunlight and forms “photo-products.” These photo-products are persistent and potentially toxic, but knowledge about their biological impacts, including ecosystem and human health risks, is limited. Thus, they are not adequately accounted for by decision makers when evaluating oil spill risks and impacts. This project, which includes practitioner engagement and input throughout, aims to address this knowledge gap and improve oil spill risk assessment by investigating the chemical composition, bioavailability, toxicity, and long-term health effects of oil photo-products and incorporating this information into models used for oil spill risk assessment.


Christoph Aeppli
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