A new chemical analysis shows that virtually all the tar balls now washing on to 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 on Alabama beaches 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 didn't have an immediate response.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.