“Mutant” sea urchins on the Côte d’Azur


After the case of the three babies born with no arms over the course of 6 months, well above the average rate, it’s now "mutant" sea urchins that are causing concern in the French town of Fos- sur-Mer.

A 2016 study on the impact of chlorine water flushed into the Fos gulf demonstrated that the sea urchins were developing resistance to chlorine water. The researchers said that if sea urchins imported from clean waters, such as around the Ile des Embiez further down the coast, were implanted in these polluted Fos waters, they wouldn’t last long.

There are currently two competing hypotheses to explain the Fos urchin resistance: genetic mutation or natural selection.

Given this region’s cuisine is known their sea urchin feasting, the concern of toxicity reaching people is not unfounded, though scientists remain unalarmed. You would have to eat a lot of sea urchins, and often, in order to run any kind of risk.