The National Institutes of Health will reserve $10 million to study health effects connected to the cleanup of the Gulf oil spill, after health problems among the expanding cleanup workforce were reported in early June.

According to a recent Science News article, Health and Human Services and the CDC are already working with local agencies to track the health of cleanup workers, including the short- and long-term health effects of oil spill cleanup exposures.

The pace and urgency of research in emergency and disaster settings can raise unique ethical concerns about research with human subjects. What ethical issues do you foresee arising from research with these workers? And, what lessons can we learn from past disaster research that should be considered in planning and approving Gulf oil spill studies?

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2 thoughts on “NIH plans research with Gulf oil spill workers

  1. R Will Caverly

    Could you point me to the announcement of the $10m allocated to these studies? I see the townhall meetings, but I don't see where it says that money has been set aside.

  2. PRIM&R

    Sure! Within the "Science News" article, there is a paragraph that reads:

    "And there could be plenty of new studies developed to redress the lack of data on spill effects generally. The day before at an unrelated hearing of the same health subcommittee, National Institutes of Health Director Francis Collins pledged to set aside $10 million of NIH spending for new research on the effects of this spill."