A warning has been issued to dog owners as palm oil was found washed up along the coast of Cornwall.
Posting to Facebook yesterday (November 4), the Friends of Portheras Cove page urged any dog owners to keep their pets on leads and children away from the stuff in west Cornwall – which can be poisonous.
Found near the Pendeen Coves, volunteers have moved away what they could but say they have been unable to remove all of it as there were “large quantities” of the oil which is found in many supermarket products.
The post read: “Palm Oil Warning! Strong onshore northerly winds have brought in large quantities of palm oil to the Pendeen Coves.
“This can be lethal to dogs (and we found evidence of fresh dog bites on some pieces) so please keep dogs on leads and children well away too. Coastguard has been informed but we are unsure if they will help to remove it as the coves are all privately owned.
“Our volunteers moved what they could today, and monitored for several hours to keep dogs away, but some of the pieces are weighty, heavily contaminated and sticky. Please beware!”
Last year Polzeath coastguards took to Facebook to warn beach users of the dangers linked to palm oil and said it could make dogs ill.
A spokesperson wrote: “Last week there were reports of deposits of a substance believed to be palm oil washed up on Polzeath beach. As a beach user it is important to know what palm oil looks like and what you should do if you see it.
“Palm oil is a natural edible vegetable oil that is commonly used in food processing and is a raw ingredient in many things. The problem isn’t the palm oil itself, but it can be contaminated with fuel waste, bacteria and other toxins.
“It can get into the marine environment when it is legally released at sea by ships. Whilst on the ships, and whilst in the sea, palm oil can become contaminated with other waste products and because its edible it can be attractive to some animals who can become ill after coming into contact with it.
“Palm oil can be observed in a variety of forms from large lumps to a scattering of pebble sizes pieces and is waxy in appearance. Although it is generally considered to be non-toxic and no danger to humans, elsewhere in the country there have been reports of dogs becoming ill after ingesting the substance.”
What to do if your dog comes into contact with palm oil
Here is what you should do, according to Polzeath coastguard, if you are heading to the local beach or if you or your dog is in contact with palm oil:
“If you’re heading to the beach please take care and we’d suggest keeping children and pets away from the deposits. This doesn’t mean keep off the beach – it means keep an eye on your dog and make sure they don’t eat anything which they shouldn’t do.
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“If you come into contact with the substance, wash it off with soap and wash your clothes. If you believe your dog has been in contact with the substance and are concerned about their health, please contact your vet as soon as possible.
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“If anyone finds deposits of palm oil they can contact Cornwall Council who will come and remove it from council owned beaches. You can report sightings of the deposits on 0300 1234 141.”