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Monday, February 18 , 2019, 11:25 pm | Fair 49º


Capps Hails Launch of Federal Study to Track Health Effects of BP Oil Spill

NIH project will focus on the 55,000 cleanup workers and volunteers in the Gulf

Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara, on Tuesday commended the National Institutes of Health for its launch of a national study to track possible health effects of the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill on the 55,000 cleanup 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 cleanup workers and Gulf Coast residents who were exposed to the BP oil spill,” Capps said. “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.”

Capps recently reintroduced the Gulf Coast Monitoring and Research Program Act of 2011 (House Resolution 832), legislation to require the secretary of Health and Human Services, 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 (House Resolution 6017).

“As we approach the one-year anniversary of this environmental and economic disaster, it’s absolutely essential that this not become a human health disaster, too,” Capps said. “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.”

— Ashley Schapitl is press secretary for Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara.

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