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Name: Kim H.
Status: other
Age: 30s
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: 2000-2001

In our research of oil spills, we have read about animals that die once the oil is absorbed by their fur or feathers. Why does an animal's fur or feathers absorb oil but repell water?

The fur and feathers of aquatic animals and birds contain water repellent oils and fats secreted by the creatures. These are chemically quite different than the oils and tars found in crude oil. The crude does two things: 1. It dissolves the natural oils at least partly and 2. Add weight to the creature. So not only is the animal less water repellent, it is weighed down by the crude oil.

Vince Calder

Its very mush like the natural lanolin in a sheep's wool. It coats the wool fibers to repel water. Now remember the basic principle of "like dissolves like"... in this case the crude oil dissolves away the birds normal oils in its feathers and then the toxic crude oil penetrates to the skin and is absorbed into the blood and kills the bird.


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