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'Toxic' palm oil washes up around St Ives

'Toxic' palm oil washes up around St Ives

Published by Emma Carton at 1:49pm 15th November 2019. (Updated at 6:52pm 15th November 2019)

A warning is going out to dog owners as clumps of palm oil wash up in St Ives.

The waxy substance, which is usually white or yellow, can be deadly to pets.

Loads of it has been seen at Porthmeor, but other beaches are believed to be affected too.

Palm Oil in St Ives
Potentially toxic palm oil has washed up on beaches in St Ives. Photo: Daniel Bassett


Locals have posted a message to The Real Love St Ives Facebook group.

The harbour office has reportedly issued a warning, saying palm oil is on ALL the beaches.

Local Daniel Bassett responded with these pictures from Porthmeor.

Palm Oil in St Ives
There are reports of the waxy substance on all beaches in St Ives, including Porthmeor. Photo: Daniel Bassett


What is palm oil and what does it look like on the beach?

Vets Now says: "Palm oil is an edible vegetable oil derived from the pulp of the fruit of African, American and Maripa palms. It is used in processed foods, toiletries and as a biofuel. Large ships also use palm oil as a tank cleaning agent".

Its website also says: "Palm oil washed up on beaches is often white, yellow or orange and looks like waxy pebbles or boulders. These so-called blobs typically smell like diesel and may be contaminated with other waste products".

Vets Now

Is palm oil safe for dogs?

"While palm oil is not poisonous to dogs, it does have a laxative effect and, if eaten, can cause sickness, diarrhoea, dehydration and, in extreme cases, pancreatitis.

"It can also cause blockages in the gut due to its semi-solid state.

"Some dogs have become seriously ill after ingesting palm oil.

"Much of the risk from palm oil is thought to derive from other toxic products mixed in it such a diesel oil from ships".

Vets Now

Palm Oil in St Ives
A warning has gone out to dog owners in St Ives, because palm oil can be deadly to pets. Photo: Daniel Bassett


Can palm oil kill dogs?

"Palm oil has resulted in serious complications in a small minority of dogs. One study of 60 dogs who had ingested palm oil found fewer than half displayed symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhoea or loose stools.

"One case developed pneumonia after inhaling vomit and another had significant gastrointestinal signs and elevated liver enzymes.

"However, all of the dogs recovered and there was no evidence to suggest that palm oil ingestion in dogs can be fatal".

Vets Now

What should I do if my dog ingests palm oil?

Read more advice from Vets Now, including articles on owners whose pets have eaten palm oil.

If you see palm oil on the beach people are asked to report sightings to 0300 1234 141.

You can find more information from Cornwall Council here.

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