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NIH-funded research network to explore oil spill health effects
Date:7/7/2011

An NIH-funded network of researchers will evaluate potential harmful effects of the Deepwater Horizon disaster on reproduction and birth outcomes, the cardiorespiratory system, and behavior and mental health. The network of community and university partnerships, under the leadership of NIH's National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), will conduct research to evaluate the level of potentially harmful contaminants in air, water, and seafood, and assess their relationship to health outcomes.

The five-year, $25.2 million program will support population-based and laboratory research at Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center New Orleans; Tulane University, New Orleans; the University of Florida, Gainesville; and The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston. In contrast to NIEHS' Gulf Long-term Follow-up Study, known as the GuLF Study, which is focused on the oil spill cleanup workers and volunteers, this new research will concentrate on the range of acute and long-term health effects to the general public.

As an integrated network, these four institutions will collaborate on approaches and share results to better understand the interplay and effects of multiple stressors on human health. To ensure research activities are responsive to the needs of local communities in the Gulf Coast region, the universities will partner with more than a dozen community organizations to incorporate local concerns and more effectively communicate research findings.

"From individuals, to families, to communities, this initiative shows a commitment to better understand the long-term health effects of oil spills," said Linda Birnbaum, Ph.D., director of NIEHS and the National Toxicology Program. "Our number one goal is to provide strong science that will help people now and during future disasters."

"Throughout the Gulf region, scientists and community groups will work hand in hand to address the needs of those most impacted
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Contact: Ed Kang
kanges@niehs.nih.gov
919-541-1993
NIH/National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
Source:Eurekalert

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