24 December 2010

Research Priorities for Assessing Health Effects from the Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill: A Letter Report


The US National Academy of Sciences has just reported back on what they consider are the key research priorities and issues that need to be taken forward in relation to oil spills and human health.

Click here to go to the page and download a free pdf of the report (after registering).

The 5 research priorities they identified are:

Research priority 1
Evidence about the psychological and behavioral effects of the Gulf of  Mexico oil spill. Policymakers and health officials can use such evidence to guide efforts to improve the health status of individuals affected by the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, as well as contribute to the prevention and treatment of similar health outcomes in future disasters. The research should identify factors associated with either vulnerability or resilience to situations such as oil spills and other disasters.

Research priority 2
Obtaining information that is as comprehensive as possible about exposure to the oil, dispersants, and by-products of the controlled burns.

Research priority 3
Assessing seafood safety in both the near term and long term and clearly communicating results to the affected communities.

Research priority 4
Research to evaluate and compare communication and engagement methods to determine which are the most effective for disaster and disaster-preparedness research.

Research priority 5
Research on the framework needed to deploy a rapid research response for future oil spills and other potential disasters.

Image courtesy of Wikipedia from an original NASA photo. Click here to go to the Wikipedia page.