Health Data Gaps, Suspicions About BP Worry U.S. Panelists at Hearing

"There are 'large gaps' in data now being gathered on the health of the 34,000 workers cleaning up the largest oil spill in U.S. history and growing concern that BP Plc will fail to publicize problems if they arise.

Linda McCauley, dean of the Emory University’s school of nursing in Atlanta, said, 'It’s kind of scary' that the cleanup workers are hired by 'the people who are actually at fault' and not the local government, 'where we know there can be transparency.' She led a panel on health effects of the Gulf spill at a U.S. Institute of Medicine hearing today.

Eight panel members interviewed before the meeting said the U.S. government needs to fund years of monitoring of cleanup workers to adequately assess exposure risks to toxic chemicals as a result of the Gulf of Mexico spill. Several likened the lack of coordination in monitoring to the Sept. 11, 2001, World Trade Center attack when the government failed to foresee health fallout that left thousands with long-term illnesses."

Pat Wechsler and Neil Gross report for Bloomberg June 22, 2010.


"Record of BP's Gulf Worker-Testing Firm Raises Conflict-Of-Interest Questions" (Greenwire)

"Long-term health risk of oil exposure is poorly understood, experts say" (New Orleans Times-Picayune)

"Clean-up Workers Risk Health Problems From Oil Spill" (Reuters)

Source: Bloomberg, 06/23/2010