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Your Environment. Your Health.

Publication Detail

Title: Oil Spills and Human Health: Contributions of the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative.

Authors: Eklund, Ruth L; Knapp, Landon C; Sandifer, Paul A; Colwell, Rita C

Published In Geohealth, (2019 Dec)

Abstract: The Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative (GoMRI) was established in 2010 with $500 million in funding provided by British Petroleum over a 10-year period to support research on the impacts of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill and recovery. Contributions of the GoMRI program to date focused on human health are presented in more than 32 peer-reviewed papers published between 2011 and May 2019. Primary findings from review of these papers are (i) the large quantity of dispersants used in the oil cleanup have been associated with human health concerns, including through obesogenicity, toxicity, and illnesses from aerosolization of the agents; (ii) oil contamination has been associated with potential for increases in harmful algal blooms and numbers of pathogenic Vibrio bacteria in oil-impacted waters; and (iii) members of Gulf communities who are heavily reliant upon natural resources for their livelihoods were found to be vulnerable to high levels of life disruptions and institutional distrust. Positive correlations include a finding that a high level of community attachment was beneficial for recovery. Actions taken to improve disaster response and reduce stress-associated health effects could lessen negative impacts of similar disasters in the future. Furthermore, GoMRI has supported annual conferences beginning in 2013 at which informative human health-related presentations have been made. Based on this review, it is recommended that the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 be updated to include enhanced funding for oil spill impacts to human health.

PubMed ID: 32159026 Exiting the NIEHS site

MeSH Terms: No MeSH terms associated with this publication

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