Friday, September 24, 2010



VIA:  Rob Coulon

The National Academy of Sciences Institute of Medicine is meeting today and tomorrow to conduct a review of the “Federal Response to the Health Effects Associated with the Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill.” FINALLLY - great news, right? The conference includes many of the brightest doctors and researchers to discuss the health implications from human exposure to 4.9 million barrels of oil and 1.8 million gallons of Corexit. This is long over due…. Yes? Wait, lets look at this a little bit closer, shall we?

First of all - the conference is taking place Thursday - Friday Sept 23-24 and has not been promoted at all. The problem with this is that the research and conference is all about hearing directly from the people affected…a public workshop - which would be a great advantage for the people of Coastal Louisiana and all people of the Gulf area, if it were indeed being held in the Gulf area where they could actually participate.
The unpublicized conference and meeting is being held in central Florida - in Tampa. I consider myself fairly well in the loop on the subject as a member of CHSL as we are very involved in the short and long term health study and health effects of this crisis. However I found out about this by accident. Today. The day the public meeting was taking place. In Tampa.

It screams to me WHY?

If they are asking for the affected residents of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama & Florida to attend and give input on their health issues, why not widely promote it heavy in those areas? Better yet, why not hold the conference in an area where people could actually attend? A midway point perhaps? The very people who need to attend do not have the financial means and good health to travel to Tampa to be counted. Plaquemines Parish is ground zero of this oil spill. The parish officials had no idea about this conference.

None of this made any sense to me, so I decided to dig deeper.

Here are a few interesting facts:

At the request of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the IOM convened a public workshop June 22-23 2010 to begin planning for the surveillance of the Gulf oil spill's effects on human health. Speakers explored the potential adverse health effects for at-risk populations living in the Gulf region in general or assisting with clean-up activities. Participants also discussed current monitoring activities, the types of research methods and data sources currently available, and options to consider when developing short- and long-term surveillance plans. Additionally, participants considered effective ways to communicate potential health risks to the public and to engage them in research on the spill's effects.

On August 10,2010 - They released the document Summary “Assessing the Effects of the Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill on Human Health” which talks openly and very honestly about the use of dispersants and the oil spill in relation to human health - both long tem and short tem effects were taken into account. This document can be viewed at the link below. It is one of the first that seemed to mirror exactly what is going on with the health of people here in the Gulf. It explains in great detail the nature of illnesses and human health dangers associated with the spill and I was excited to read it being so well done by a reliable and well known source. It seemed that we might finally get somewhere on this topic. Then, as luck would have it - They received a $10 million dollar grant to fund the project! What a huge break for the people of the Gulf region! Right?

Oh… wait…

On September 7, 2010, BP announced it would provide $10 million to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for research into the potential health problems resulting from the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. BP stated that the funds are intended to expedite work on the research priorities identified at the IOM’s June 22-23 workshop, "Assessing the Human Health Effects of the Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill."


And here we find ourselves right back at the beginning of this note… asking WHY? Why would they hold a conference asking for cooperation of the affected people of the Gulf region; asking them to attend this meeting in Tampa without any advance notice and without making the state and Parish/Counties officials aware? Without even once contacting the actual people from whom they need input for the study - nor making it public by any means of promotion they will conclude our health issue impact! Perhaps it was an oversite? Perhaps they will not state in the study that no one showed up to confirm or report any health issues so must not be any. Perhaps, if we send them a note via email they will give us a way to offer feedback now - before the meeting ends Friday September 24 2010 without any input from those actually affected. I urge any and everyone with health issues to email us at CHSL with the following information so that we can send them the collected information - even if it means that we stay up all night compiling it and making sure it happens!

You can confirm the above with them - the contact info is:

The National Academy of Sciences Institute of Medicine

Office of Reports and Communication

Phone: 202-334-2352

Fax: 202-334-1412

DO NOT let this happen. Be heard. Speak up! You have less than 12 hours to do so.

Email the following info to us.

Contact Number:
Number of people in your household:
Ages of people in your household:
Please describe any symptoms that you have had that you feel are oil spill related:
Have you had medical treatment for the above?
Have you had any tests to confirm that your symptoms were caused by elements of the oil spill?
What were the tests/results?
Were you involved in the oil clean up? 
If so, were you a paid worker or volunteer?

Send info to

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