Scientists studied the impact of the leak in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010. Substance affects the heart's capacity of fish's cells.
Images show that some areas of southern Louisiana in the United States are still severely degraded by the leakage of BP's oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico, even a year after the crash.
The oil has toxic effects on fish hearts, causing an irregular heartbeat, according to an American study of the Gulf of Mexico tuna following BP's fuel leak in 2010.
Scientists at Stanford University (California) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), who were studying the impact of black tide on tuna after the Deepwater Horizon platform exploded, found that oil affects the capacity of these fish's heart cells. work effectively.
In this way they block the potassium distribution channels in the heart cell membranes, which increases the time between each beat. This mechanism is similar in all vertebrates, including man.
The negative effects of oil on larvae and young fish have long been known, the authors of the papers published in the journal Science and presented at the annual conference of the American Association for the Advancement of Science presented in Chicago.
"This finding more clearly defines the threats of fuel-derived chemicals to fish and other coastal species, as well as to the ocean ecosystem, with consequences beyond the black tide," the scientists said, citing other sources of contamination, like the leakage of rainwater in the urban environment.
The authors also highlight the previously underestimated risks of some fuel substances to wildlife and humans, especially polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH), which is present in air pollution at high levels.
The British Petroleum spill following the Deepwater Horizon platform explosion spilled more than four million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, most during the breeding period of Atlantic red tuna.