White waxy substance on Cornish beaches identified
THE WHITE waxy substance that has appeared on a number of west Cornwall’s beaches has been identified.
Public Health England (PHE) has announced the material to be a “non-toxic, degraded, edible oil or fat”.
The organisation has been working alongside Cornwall Council, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency and the Environment Agency following the discoveries on beaches such as Praa Sands, Porthcurno and Penzance.
Dr Femi Oshin, of PHE, said: “It’s reassuring that the substance has been found to be some kind of cooking oil. It has clearly turned rancid and that’s why we’ve had reports of it smelling so bad.
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“While not harmful to people, it’s unpleasant, and we’d still advise people – and dog owners with their pets – to keep away from it, and allow the council’s contractors to get on with taking it away and disposing of it.”
Cornwall Council has also advised the substance may harm dogs if eaten.
Since the material appeared on beaches over the weekend a Penzance vet confirmed a number of owners have reported dogs being sick after coming in contact, while one pet died – thought to have been caused by the material.
Dog owners have already been advised to keep their dogs on a lead and away from any deposits when on affected beaches.
The council said it has instructed contractors Cory to remove the oil from Cornwall Council-owned sites.