The Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Through the Lens of Human Health and the Ecosystem
Current Environmental Health Reports
This review examines current research ascertaining the impact of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill on human health and ecosystems. Driven by the need to strategically focus research funding, the authors also assess the implications of those findings and promote a transdisciplinary research agenda addressing critical gaps.Epidemiologic studies conducted in workers and vulnerable communities in the spill’s aftermath showed that non-chemical stressors affect resilience. Ecosystem-wise salt marsh species showed variability in structural and functional changes, attributed to species-specific tolerance, oil exposure, and belowground plant organs damage.Lacking baseline exposure assessment data hampers assessing the impact of chemical stressors. Research priorities include leveraging existing women/child dyads and worker cohorts to advance exposure characterization and counter early adverse effects in most vulnerable populations. Key policy gaps include mandated just-in-time emergency resources to ascertain immediate post-event exposures and contemporary legislation addressing human and ecosystem health in an integrated rather than silo fashion.
Lichtveld, Maureen; Sherchan, Samendra; Gam, Kaitlyn B.; and Kwok, Richard K., "The Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Through the Lens of Human Health and the Ecosystem" (2016). School of Computer, Mathematical, & Natural Sciences. 15.