Volunteers sought for studies into oil spill’s health effects

Originally published on PNJ.com

Volunteers are being sought to participate in a long-term study on the impact of the BP oil spill on cleanup workers and anglers.

Gloria Horning, a spokeswoman for the Be Ready Alliance Coordinating for Emergencies, or BRACE, is recruiting the volunteers.

The study on cleanup workers is being conducted by the National Institutes of Health through the University of Florida. The University of West Florida is assisting in the study, she said.

The goal is to recruit at least 100 participants.

“The study is trying to ascertain any health impacts on workers,” she said. “The first part of the study is a question-and-answer survey. The participants won’t be identified. And they’ll be asked questions like: ‘Have you been feeling bad?’ ‘Has anything changed with your health?’ “

Based on the findings, the National Institutes of Health may decide to follow up with medical studies, such as blood work, Horning said.

“We are also looking for noncommercial fishing people who either are still fishing and eating what they catch or have stopped fishing altogether,” she said. “We will be doing surveys and focus groups, all of which the participants will receive some sort of compensation.”

The compensation will be nominal, and for things like travel expenses, she said.

The study will focus on the lingering psychological impacts on recreational anglers who may harbor suspicions about the long-term affects of the oil spill on the fish they catch and eat.

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