If you’ve been wondering about the long-term health effects of the gulf oil disaster–scientists are trying to find out. The National Institutes of Health is about halfway done with its Gulf Study. More than 33,000 men and women who were around the oil in 2010 are taking part. I’m one of them. I did four hours of tests about a week ago at the campus of USA Medical Center. They measured my weight, height, lung function and brain among other tests. I was paid $100 for my time and $25 for mileage as has anyone else who went through this battery of tests.
The health issues they spotted are probably not associated with the oil disaster. These are issues I’ve had my whole life. I’m one point on a bigger chart. USA is one of only two spots doing this phase of the Gulf Study. They’ve seen roughly 1,400 people since August of last year.
So after spending $60 million so far what have they learned? The study shows oil spill workers have higher rates of depression and respiratory problems than average. The study will be a decade long at least to see what if any correlations there are exposure to oil and dispersants and cancer rates.