In this Sept. 5, 2012 aerial photo, a combination of alluvial clay and tar mats are seen on the shore of Elmer's Island in the aftermath of Hurricane Isaac, in Jefferson Parish, La. Tests run by Louisiana State University for state wildlife officials confirmed that oil found on Elmer's Island and Grand Isle matched the biological fingerprint of the hundreds of millions of gallons of oil that spewed from BP's Macondo well. On Wednesday, BP PLC said oil from its spill had been exposed by Isaac's waves and that the company would work to clean it up. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
AUBURN, Ala. (AP) — A new chemical analysis shows that virtually all the tar balls washing onto the Alabama coast are directly linked to the BP oil spill more than two years ago.
The report released Thursday by Auburn University says that tar balls caused by the spill are hundreds to thousands of times more common than another type of asphalt-like tar deposit that's been in the Gulf for years.
Researchers tested tar found after Hurricane Isaac last month. They found the material is from the BP well, and that certain chemicals in the tar have barely broken down since June 2010.
The work was funded by the city of Orange Beach, the National Science Foundation and others.
BP says it hasn't seen the study. Spokesman Ray Melick says the tar balls are scattered and that BP is working to remove them.