This Coast Guard photo taken by Petty Officer 3rd Class Ann Marie Gorden shows oil-absorbing containment boom on the beach at Port Fourchon, La., on May 30.

IOM Meeting to Examine Spill's Health Effects

A live webcast is available of the event Tuesday and Wednesday at the Hotel Monteleone in Hew Orleans. Numerous experts are participating, including the current director of NIOSH, a former director, and the U.S. surgeon general.

Experts on assessing human health effects from exposures to oil and chemicals will participate in an Institute of Medicine workshop Tuesday and Wednesday (June 22-23) examining the human health effects of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. The event takes place in New Orleans in a ballroom of the Hotel Monteleone and will be shown via a live webcast. It starts at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday and at 9 a.m. Wednesday.

Visit this page for information, to submit a comment, or to register for the webcast.

The U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board's chairman, John Bresland, sent a letter June 18 promising to investigate the root causes of the Deepwater Horizon explosion that triggered the spill. Bresland's letter told two top Democrats on the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Energy and Commerce that CSB's investigative team will include personnel who investigated the 2005 BP Texas City refinery explosion, and he said this probe may require supplemental funding because it is more complex and will be more costly than the refinery investigation, on which CSB spent three years and about $2.5 million.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services asked IOM to conduct a public workshop that draws on the best scientific expertise available about the spill's health effects. Nancy E. Adler, Ph.D., professor of medical psychology at the University of California, San Francisco and director of the Center for Health and Community, is planning committee chair and will delivery introductory remarks Tuesday before the first panel's presentation begins. That panel, opening at 9 a.m. and discussing the need to understand the oil spills' human health effects, consists of Bernard D. Goldstein, MD, professor of Environmental and Occupational Health at the University of Pittsburgh; Edward B. Overton, Ph.D. professor emeritus at Louisiana State University's Department of Environmental Sciences; and Blanca Laffon, a toxicologist at the University of Coruna in Spain who is a co-author of a paper about the human health effects of exposure to spilled oil that was published in the April 2010 issue of the Journal of Applied Toxicology.

Current NIOSH Director Dr. John Howard then will speak about the federal government's response, followed by Linda Rosenstock of UCLA, a former NIOSH director, moderating the next panel, which will include Paul J. Lioy, Ph.D., professor and vice chair of the Department of Environmental Medicine at Rutgers' Robert Wood Johnson Medical School; and Scott Barnhart, MD, MPH, medical professor and a professor of Global Health at the University of Washington's Department of Medicine, who will discuss occupational health hazards for cleanup workers and volunteers.

At 9:30 a.m. on the second day, U.S. Surgeon General Vice Admiral Regina M. Benjamin is scheduled to speak. Panel discussions will follow about federal and state governments' monitoring of health effects, the research methodologies and data sources that could be used in surveillance and monitoring, and how to develop effective surveillance and monitoring systems.

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