Rep. Lois Capps (D-Calif) commended the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for its launch of a national study to track possible health effects of the BP Deepwater Horizon spill on the 55,000 clean-up workers and volunteers in Louisiana, Florida, Mississippi, and Alabama. The study mirrors the one proposed by Capps in legislation introduced in the wake of the Gulf tragedy.
“I commend the Obama Administration for taking this proactive step to monitor the health of the thousands of oil spill clean-up workers and Gulf Coast residents who were exposed to the BP Oil spill. As a public health nurse and witness to the 1969 oil spill in Santa Barbara, I know the damage wrought by BP will inevitably affect the public’s health. But when the BP oil spill hit, scientific research on how exposure would affect worker health was lacking. That’s why I introduced legislation to investigate the health consequences of this oil spill and to provide data to inform safety measures in the future,” said Capps.
Capps recently re-introduced the Gulf Coast Monitoring and Research Program Act of 2011 (H.R. 832), legislation to require the Secretary of HHS, in consultation with other departments, to establish a comprehensive health screening, monitoring, and research program to study the health effects of the BP oil spill on workers and vulnerable populations. She introduced identical legislation in the 111th Congress (H.R. 6017).
Capps added, “As we approach the 1 year anniversary of this environmental and economic disaster, it’s absolutely essential that this not become a human health disaster, too. We know workers, including local fishermen and shrimpers, became ill from their involvement in the oil spill cleanup. The BP oil spill is a great tragedy, but this study is an important step to learn from it in order to protect communities in the future.”