Reptiles

Very few studies have been conducted on the responses of reptiles to PAH exposure, which is confirmed by several review articles. It appears that many of the studies that have been conducted examined the responses of marine reptiles (snakes and turtles) to petroleum exposure. These studies generally describe the direct effects of oil on these species; however, one study did expose juvenile loggerhead turtles to weathered crude oil (which is enriched with HPAHs and alkylated homologs). These authors noted several abnormalities including a fourfold increase in white blood cell count, a reduction in red blood cells, abnormal glucose levels, and numerous inflammatory and histologic responses in various tissues. Biotransformation rates of PAHs for reptiles (and amphibians) are generally lower than what is measured in mammals. Consequently, many of these species are less likely to form tumors because of the reduced potential for conversion to reactive metabolites. Conversely, because reptiles (and amphibians) do not biotransform PAHs as rapidly as other species, they are susceptible to other adverse effects, because tissue concentrations can accumulate to much higher levels than that expected for other vertebrates.

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