Manhattan Beach, in western Los Angeles County, was recently closed down due to an initially unknown substance, tar-like, that covered the shore. For a six mile stretch globs of stuff was washing up on the coastline, causing concern. Environmental groups have now reported that they believed the tar-like substance is petroleum. Heal the Bay, an environmental group, sent scientists to the area in Southern California to monitor the clean up, as many other groups pitch in. Until the contamination is cleared, however, the shores of Manhattan Beach will remain closed off to the public. Redondo and Hermosa beaches are still closed, as well, and some other minor areas remain closed as crews have been working all night to try and clean up the mess. Reaming from the oil spill in Santa Barbara, Refugio beach in California also remains closed. All of these places remain a danger to wildlife, while petroleum and oil remain.
The coast guard and Manhattan Beach officials are still investigating to determine the source of the golf ball to football size globs of substance that washed up ashore. They stated that they do not believe that it was a result of an oil spill, but rather possibly came from two or more barrels. Sources state that officials checked pipes and did not find any evidence of a leakage, but could also not quite determine, just yet, where the globs were coming from. Though surfers could still be seen by the beaches early morning, officials asked that no one get in or near the water, until the cleanup was complete and officials could find the source.
Many reporters have been asking officials if the tar-like substances washing up on Manhattan Beach shorelines could be related to the oil spill from Santa Barbara. A large portion of the 105,000 gallons of oil that spilled onto the shore of Santa Barbara (mainly Refugio beach) went straight into the water. Many believe that this could be the cause of the balls of petroleum or oil washing up on shore, but so far no connection has been made by officials.
Lifeguards on Manhattan Beach had notified officials after they claimed they saw the balls of tar-like substance washing in with the surf around 10 a.m. PST, Wednesday morning. They stated that the substance came in with the surf until around noon. Warning all those who were on the beach to avoid contact with the oil or sand, the lifeguards had to assist local officials, including law enforcement, in order to keep people away from the areas that were closed off, and help them avoid dangerous contact with any of the substance.
According to sources, contact with crude oil, especially when contaminating water, is highly dangerous. Crude oil contains toxic substances that can cause short term and long term effects. When contaminating water, crude oil can cause skin irritation and problems, which would have posed great danger to surfers when the substance began washing in. Inhaling the chemicals that can live in the air can cause respiratory problems, especially in people with asthma or COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease). Health sites also state that exposure to oil can cause long term effects like cancer, liver damage, kidney damage, immune damage and more. Of course, all of these side effects all depend on the length of exposure and other individual factors. This is why the beaches were closed down and officials have been working hard to clean up the shores.
Many organizations collected samples in order to determine exactly what the tar-like substance was that washed up on Manhattan Beach. The Health and Hazardous Materials Division of the Los Angeles County Fire Department, the Coast Guard, DPH, and others each took their own samples of the substance but still have not released reports of any specific results. According to sources, one unknown environmental group said that they believed the substance was petroleum. With several hundred naturally occurring seeps in California, this could be possible. However, sources say they have found no evidence yet that shows exactly what the substance is or where it came from.
By Crystal Boulware
NBC LA: Beaches Closed Due to Mysterious Petroleum Globs
VC Star: Manhattan Beach closed as globs wash ashore
LA Fire Dept: South Bay Beaches Closed After Tar-Like Substance Washes up in Manhattan Beach