Official: Tar balls “are NOT harmful” and non-toxic, yet beachgoers are “advised not to touch”

St. Johns County says beach tar balls non-toxic, HistoricCity News (St. Augustine), July 8, 2010:

Historic City News has been informed that a small number of tar balls were found today on a beach in southern St. Johns County; according to County Spokesperson Karen Pan.

The United States Coast Guard is managing clean-up efforts this afternoon and collecting samples for testing; which may take 3 to 5 days to evaluate.

Officials do not believe the tar balls are related to the BP oil
spill; located more than 1,000 miles away in the Gulf of Mexico.

“The tar balls are quite weathered with no remaining petroleum in
them; they are mostly paraffin or wax,” Pan told Historic City News.
“The quantity is very low and officials do not expect any adverse impact
on wildlife.”

The northeast Florida region has experienced approximately 10
consecutive days of onshore wind, which is believed to have caused a
higher than normal amount of seaweed to come ashore — along with the tar
balls. The County is stressing that the tar balls are non-hazardous
and are consistent with experiences in past years under similar coastal

According to Pan, deposits have been observed in isolated instances
only and none have been observed north of the St. Augustine Inlet. All
St. Johns County beaches remain open and safe for the public.

“The tar balls are not harmful and have had virtually no impact on
thousands of people enjoying the beaches today,” Pan said. “However, if
beachgoers encounter a tar patty, they are advised not to touch it.”

6 comments to Official: Tar balls “are NOT harmful” and non-toxic, yet beachgoers are “advised not to touch”

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