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Dark sticky balls wash up on Staten Island beaches: residents are asked not to touch them


Olga Derkach

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New Yorkers are being warned of 1-2 inch (2,5-5 cm) balls of tar on Fort Wadsworth beaches, prompting an oil spill cleanup. The publication told in more detail Silive.

Members of Coast Guard Sector New York spotted tar balls on the beaches of Fort Wadsworth. As a result, Notify NYC issued a situation alert on December 1, notifying residents of the sightings and saying, "Oil Spill Response staff are expected to conduct cleanup along the shoreline."

What are these balls and are they dangerous?

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), tar balls are “small pieces of dark-colored oil” that are either remnants of oil spills or form from natural seeps where oil gradually emerges from the surface of the earth above oil tanks.

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As oil floats on the surface of the ocean, it undergoes weathering, a series of different physical, chemical and biological processes that change the appearance of the oil.

As a result, a sticky, small oil deposit is formed, which is covered with a crust on the outside.

A spokesman for Coast Guard Sector New York said there was no threat to wildlife.

In general, brief exposure to small amounts of oil, although not recommended, is not harmful to humans. However, those who are sensitive to chemicals may experience a negative allergic reaction or rash even after brief exposure.

If contact does occur, NOAA advises washing the skin with soap and water, baby oil or a commonly used safe cleanser.

A Coast Guard spokesman confirmed that pollution control specialists are heading to the scene to clean up and are trying to determine the source of the tar balls.

Balls at Jersey Shore

The Coast Guard and other agencies recently investigated the source of tar balls that appeared at the Jersey Shore.

Small pieces of oil were found in an area about six miles (9,6 kilometers) between Sea Bright and Seven Presidents Park in Long Branch, a Coast Guard spokesman said.

Despite efforts, the Coast Guard has not yet been able to locate the source of such formations in New Jersey.

If you see a tar ball, refrain from touching it and report it to the National Response Center at 1-800-424-8802.

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