potential physical, psychological, and socioeconomic impacts of the Gulf oil spill and clean-up response on the short- and long-term health of individuals in the affected region—including land- and sea-based clean-up workers, fishermen and -women, other commercial workers, residents, visitors, and communities as a whole—are unknown.

Assessing the Effects of the Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill on Human Health: An Institute of Medicine Workshop

Appropriate monitoring is one key to detecting the spill’s short- and long-term physical and psychological health effects on at-risk individuals and to assessing appropriate preventive and health care services. To inform this endeavor’s development and implementation, Secretary Kathleen Sebelius of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) asked the Institute of Medicine (IOM) to convene a public workshop to provide expert, scientific input on surveillance needs and directions for future research. (Box 1-1 provides HHS’s charge to the IOM.) Nancy Adler chaired the six-member planning committee.3

Drawing on the best scientific expertise, the workshop examined a broad range of health issues potentially related to the Deepwater Horizon oil disaster and response with a focus on informing health-monitoring and health care efforts. Workshop presenters and attendees examined a broad range of potential health issues related to the Gulf oil disaster and response. The 2-day workshop comprised four half-day sessions that included expert presentations, six panel discussions, and an open-microphone dialogue with the audience. This report summarizes the panel presentations, discussions, and public comments that occurred during the workshop. (See Appendix C for the workshop agenda.)

Given the gravity of the impact of the Gulf oil spill, it was important to both the IOM and the planning committee members to afford abundant opportunity to hear from members of the public. To accomplish this goal, the planning committee designed four methods for members of the public to submit their questions and comments to the workshop: (1) submitting electronic comments through the IOM website; (2) submitting a written comment sheet during the workshop; (3) completing question cards for


The planning committee’s role was limited to planning and preparing the workshop. This document was prepared by rapporteurs as a factual summary of the workshop’s presentations and discussions.

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine
500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001

Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement