SAN FRANCISCO, Aug. 17 (UPI) — Coastal air quality on the U.S. Gulf Coast is improving now that the oil leak has been stopped, University of California, San Francisco, researchers said.
Senior author Dr. Gina Solomon — director of UCSF’s Occupational and Environmental Medicine Residency and Fellowship Program and senior scientist with the Natural Resources Defense Council in San Francisco — said air quality, skin irritation, mental health and seafood safety are the primary areas of short- and long-term health concerns.
Shortly after the Gulf oil spill began in April, more than 300 people — mostly cleanup workers — sought medical attention for headaches, dizziness, nausea, chest pain, vomiting, cough and respiratory distress that might be consistent with chemical exposure, data collected by the state of Louisiana indicates, the researchers said.
“Louisiana is making an effort to track health complaints,” Solomon said in a statement. “But it is important to remember that these 300 reported cases are only from one state and only within a few months. The Gulf Coast is a large region with many coastal communities, and it is imperative that we do whatever we can to help everyone impacted by this disaster.”
Clinicians should be aware of and look for evidence of toxicity from exposures to oil and related chemicals, said study co-author Dr. Sarah Janssen, assistant clinical professor at UCSF and senior scientist with the NRDC.
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