[Coral-List] Underwater Drill Oil Toxicity

Daniel J Barshis barshis at hawaii.edu
Thu Feb 22 15:33:07 EST 2007

Dear Listers,
      I have also successfully used an inexpensive pneumatic drill for coring massive corals underwater.  We have used the same drill for three years now, keeping it alive by total submersion in pneumatic tool oil between uses.  After a recent discussion with a colleague from the University of Hong Kong, it was brought to my attention that pneumatic tool oil and many other oil and hydrocarbon lubricants can be quite toxic to the reef environment and that common household vegetable oil works just as efficiently at keeping the drill lubricated with minimal toxicity levels.  I have tried in the past to wash my tools thoroughly before use but it's quite hard to remove all traces of the toxic oil.  Just a suggestion in hopes that we can tailor our methods and practices to reduce our impact on the environment we enjoy working in as much as possible.
dan barshis

Department of Zoology 
University of Hawaii at Manoa
2538 McCarthy Mall, Edmondson 152
Honolulu, HI 96822
barshis at hawaii.edu

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