Tar balls on a beach. Photo courtesy of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Southeast Region
Tar balls on a beach. Photo courtesy of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Southeast Region

The Los Angeles County Office of Emergency Management on Thursday asked beach goers in the Malibu Surfrider Beach and Hermosa Beach areas to be mindful of tar balls, lumps of solidified tar resulting from natural seepage from the sea that resist biodegradation and often wash up on beaches.

It is recommended that beach goers not make any physical contact with tar balls and to notify the nearest lifeguard tower, according to the department’s Ken Kondo. Tar balls may irritate skin or cause long-term health effects.

“These tar balls are an annual natural occurrence that we experience in Los Angeles County as the water temperature rise during the spring and summer months,” said Los Angeles County Fire Department Capt. Kenichi Haskett.

“For tar balls located approximately one mile offshore of King Harbor, scientists have confirmed that these substances are coming from a natural seepage from the Pacific Ocean floor,” Haskett said.

— City News Service

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