How oil breaks fish hearts

Hydrocarbons spilled into oceans stifle the beat of cardiac cells

By Beth Mole, 11:17 AM February 14, 2014

CHICAGO— Crude oil in the ocean from spills may cramp crucial electrical activity in fish, crippling the pitter-patter of piscine hearts and potentially causing death.

Researchers knew that spilled oil harms heart health of embryonic fish, but didn’t understand how oil sinks tickers.

Marine scientist Barbara Block of Stanford University and colleagues scooped up oil floating in the Gulf of Mexico from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon spill. They tested the oil’s toxicity on captive fish and on cardia...

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