Tuesday, October 2, 2012
3 p.m. EDT
Final opportunities to enroll in NIH oil spill health study
GuLF STUDY makes final call for study participants
Time is running out for workers and volunteers who helped with the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill cleanup to enroll in a long-term study of the possible effects of the oil spill on human health. The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), which is conducting the study, is seeking anyone who helped with the oil spill cleanup in any capacity to call and enroll. Enrollment in the GuLF STUDY (Gulf Long-term Follow-up Study) will close soon and would-be participants have until the end of December 2012 to sign up.
"With the help of over 80 community and professional groups across the Gulf Coast, the GuLF STUDY has enrolled more than 29,000 people to date. The cleanup response involved a wide range of tasks carried out by a large number of people who each experienced exposures to oil and dispersants under unique circumstances. We want to understand the experiences of all types of workers," said Dale Sandler, Ph.D., chief of the NIEHS Epidemiology Branch and lead researcher of the study.
"The oil spill raised a lot of questions for people here who helped with the cleanup, and we hope the GuLF STUDY will provide answers," said Paige Rucker, a GuLF STUDY community partner and the state director of Project Rebound, an Alabama nonprofit organization assisting those impacted by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. "A lot of people along the coast have been affected by the spill, and the data on the GuLF STUDY will be invaluable in knowing how best to treat them."
NIEHS is seeking all eligible workers and volunteers — those who are healthy as well as those who may have health challenges — to enroll. NIEHS is also making a special request for anyone who worked near the source of the spill, such as oil rig workers and rig support personnel, to enroll. Because of their proximity to the spill, it will be important to understand how their exposure might affect their health.
Anyone who helped with the cleanup may have been contacted by mail, text message, or phone call to participate in the study. Those who have not yet enrolled are being urged to call now.
"It is important that workers and volunteers who helped with the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill cleanup make the call today, so they can share their stories before we close out enrollment," said Sandler. “Every worker and volunteer has a story to tell, and we would like to hear every story to better understand the potential health effects of oil and dispersants.”
Expected to last at least 10 years, the GuLF STUDY will generate important data that may help inform policy decisions on health care and health services in the Gulf Coast region. Findings may also influence responses to other oil spills in the future.
For more information, call the GuLF STUDY toll-free at 1-855-NIH-GULF (1-855-644-4853) or visit the GuLF STUDY website at http://www.gulfstudy.nih.gov.
NIEHS supports research to understand the effects of the environment on human health and is part of NIH. For more information on environmental health topics, visit http://www.niehs.nih.gov. Subscribe to one or more of the NIEHS news lists to stay current on NIEHS news, press releases, grant opportunities, training, events, and publications.
About the National Institutes of Health (NIH): NIH, the nation's medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit http://www.nih.gov.
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