Assessing the Human Health Effects of the Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill

Type: Stand Alone Workshop
Topics: Public Health, Environmental Health
Board: HMD Executive Office

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Activity Description

The extent of the Gulf Coast oil spill is unprecedented, and the health effects on individuals—including workers, volunteers, residents, and visitors—in the affected regions are as yet unknown. What we know for certain is that there is much to learn.

At the request of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the IOM will hold a public workshop that draws on the best scientific expertise available to examine a broad range of health issues resulting from the oil spill. Specifically, the workshop will:

  • Review the current knowledge about the effects on human health of exposure to oil, weathered oil products, and dispersants, and identify gaps in this knowledge;
  • Identify and discuss the populations most at risk for health problems as a result of the oil spill;
  • Review and assess ways to monitor the spill’s potential negative effects on health in the short- and long-term;
  • Explore methods and strategies for gathering data to further our understanding of the risks to human health; and
  • Consider effective ways to communicate with those at risk for health problems, taking culture, understanding of health information, language, technology, and geography into account.

The workshop was held June 22-23, 2010.

The full webcast of the meeting is available online.

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