Researchers say BP oil spill contributes to dolphin illnesses, deaths

In this photo taken May 10, 2015, a dead dolphin washes ashore in the Gulf of Mexico on Grand Isle, La. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) scientists stated in a report released, Wednesday, May 20, 2015, that there are links between BP's catastrophic 2010 oil spill and a spate of dolphin deaths since the spill. The study is part of a wide-ranging assessment of ecological damage caused by the spill. BP has rejected that contention and said necropsies of dolphins and "other information reveal there is no evidence" to make the link between the spill and dolphin deaths. (AP Photo/Cain Burdeau)
In this photo taken May 10, 2015, a dead dolphin washes ashore in the Gulf of Mexico on Grand Isle, La. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) scientists stated in a report released, Wednesday, May 20, 2015, that there are links between BP’s catastrophic 2010 oil spill and a spate of dolphin deaths since the spill. (AP Photo/Cain Burdeau)

Bottlenose dolphins found within the footprint of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill are displaying unusual and life-threatening diseases consistent with exposure to petroleum products, a team of researchers investigating a spike in deaths said Wednesday.

The latest findings mark an “important piece in the chain of evidence” linking an uptick in deaths since early 2010 to the BP oil rig disaster that spewed more than 200 million gallons of crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico, researchers said.

“Studies have increasingly pointed to the presence of petroleum hydrocarbons as being the most significant cause of the illnesses and deaths plaguing the Gulf’s dolphin population,” said Teri Rowles, head of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Marine Mammal Health and Stranding Response Program.

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