Monitoring van paraffine-achtige stoffen op Nederlandse stranden en in magen van noordse stormvogels (KB-24-002-036)

Project: EZproject

Project Details


In recent years, paraffin pollution on Dutch beaches has garnered attention in the news on a regular basis. This indicates an increasing interest from the media, the public, and government, and we expect more questions from politicians regarding this issue in the foreseeable future. Paraffin is an oil-based product, often used for candles, cosmetics, and in the packaging industry. Both marine organisms foraging at sea, such as the Northern fulmar (Fulmarus glacialis), and animals (e.g. dogs) on beaches might suffer from paraffin ingestion, sometimes with lethal consequences. Fulmars are regularly reported to contain ingested plastic debris. Thus, the uptake of paraffin represents an additional stress factor. Not much is known about the chemical effects of paraffin on organisms, but coastal communities can be affected by paraffin pollution, such as high clean-up costs.


During this pilot study, there are three questions we want to answer:

1.How much of the fatty substances found on beaches is paraffin and what are other potential materials made of (e.g. palm fat)?

2.How often do fulmars ingest these fatty substances and what are other potential materials made of?

3.Is it possible to identify added or adsorbed toxic substances related to paraffin?


Paraffin samples were collected on Dutch beaches and in fulmar stomachs. We want to analyse these samples in order to define their characteristics, and identify paraffin or other substances that are transported as bulk. If feasible, an analysis of chemical or toxic substances will be conducted, focussing on substances added during production, or substances used during cleaning processes on board of ships. These results may inform policy and contribute to the drafting of new regulations, as well as provide evidence for the implementation of stricter international laws.

Effective start/end date1/01/1831/12/18