Oil additive blames for seabird deaths on Cornish coast
4:14pm Wednesday 6th February 2013 in News
Seabird deaths along the coast from Dorset to Cornwall have been caused by an oil additive that has polluted the sea.
Experts at Plymouth University say that the mystery substance that has killed hundreds of birds and has been shown to be ‘burning’ their skin is a type of polyisobutene.
The substance has a variety of uses, most commonly as an oil additive.
The Maritime and Coastguard Agency and the RSPCA are being told of the analysis results.
The substance is damaging the birds ability to keep warm and waterproof as it is sticky and semi-solid, and acts on birds' feathers “like a glue”.
The substance is slow to biodegrade and experts say it could stay in the environment for some time.
The substance came to light after hundreds of seabirds were found washed up on beaches along the south coast of England.