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Survey of coastal residents shows Gulf oil spill has significant impact on families
Date:8/3/2010

oating and playing in the sand; 21% say their kids are spending less overall time playing outdoors.

  • Coastal residents had more favorable assessments and trust in their local and state officials and in the U.S. Coast Guard than they did in BP or other Federal agencies.

  • Slightly over half of all coastal residents felt that BP's response was "poor," and 41.3% said that the President's response to the oil spill was poor.

    "Over the last few days we are seeing an effort by officials who are suggesting that, as the oil is less visible on the surface, the 'crisis is over.' Clearly, this is far from the case," says Irwin Redlener, MD, director of the National Center for Disaster Preparedness (NCPD) at Columbia's Mailman School of Public Health and president of the Children's Health Fund (CHF). "As shown by our survey, done after the well was capped, there is a significant and persistent public health crisis underscored by the large number of children with medical and psychological problems related to the oil disaster. These concerns will need to be assessed and managed in these coastal communities where there are few or no pediatricians and vastly insufficient mental health professional capacity.'

    The survey found a dramatic relationship between economic vulnerability and health effects. Adults with household incomes under $25,000 were by far the most likely to report physical and mental health effects for themselves and also among their children.

    "Much the way Hurricane Katrina had its greatest effect on those with the least, the oil spill is also having a greater impact on those coastal residents who are 'economically vulnerable,' says David Abramson, PhD, MPH, director of Research at NCDP and assistant professor of clinical sociomedical sciences at the Mailman School. "In an area still recovering from the 2005 Hurricane Katrina, the oil spill represents a significant test of a population's resiliency."


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  • Contact: Stephanie Berger
    sb2247@columbia.edu
    212-305-4372
    Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health
    Source:Eurekalert

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