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Physical sciences/Chemistry/Chemical compounds/Organic compounds/Hydrocarbons

Oil compounds interfere with cellular signals needed for a healthy heartbeat in fish, a new study suggests.

Climate change is opening a Northern bonanza for oil, rare earths, and even fish, but experts speaking at AAAS warned that U.S. policy in fields ranging from the environment to Arctic diplomacy may be adapting too slowly to emerging challenges.

Their assessment was a mix of optimism and measured concern: Where some accounts have predicted a new era of geopolitical conflict or even a militarized Arctic, the speakers instead suggested that international cooperation in science and diplomacy is already reducing the risk of conflict in the region.

Water is becoming scarcer as climate change alters its availability, while population growth is fueling an ever-growing demand. These realities make clear that society must move beyond old approaches to regulating and managing water to meet future challenges, John Tubbs, a veteran water policy leader, said at AAAS.

A major study of worker health in the aftermath of the Gulf oil blowout got underway months later than desirable and may be limited as a result, a public health specialist told the AAAS Forum on Science and Technology Policy.

Dr. Bernard D. Goldstein, interim director of the Center for Healthy Environments and Communities at the University of Pittsburgh, said the federal government was unprepared to quickly mount studies of the possible long-term health effects of the 20 April 2010 Deepwater Horizon spill.

Bacteria made quick work of the methane released by the Deepwater Horizon blowout, digesting most of the gas within the four months after its release, according to a new study published online at ScienceExpress.

In mid-June, two months after the 20 April blowout of BP’s Deepwater Horizon drilling rig, the resulting oil plume had reached huge proportions, peer-reviewed research published 19 August on the Science Express Web site suggests.