Study: Sick dolphins a year after oil spill

By By JANET McCONNAUGHEY

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A study assessing damage from the 2010 Gulf of Mexico spill said dolphins in a heavily oiled Louisiana bay were in bad shape a year later, with lung damage consistent with exposure to oil.

Government, academic and other researchers made comprehensive check-ups on 29 dolphins in Barataria Bay in August 2011 as part of the Natural Resource Damage Assessment — a federal process to determine damage and how to repair it.

Their study was published Wednesday in the journal Environmental Science & Technology. It said nearly half the dolphins examined were in guarded, poor or grave condition. That compared to one out of 15 caught for comparison in Sarasota Bay, Fla.

Federal scientist Lori Schwacke says she has never seen such a large percentage of very sick dolphins.

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