Lessons for Study of the Health Effects of Oil Spills, Annals of Internal Medicine (American College of Physicians), August 23, 2010:
In this issue, the report... of health effects in fishermen who helped clean up the Prestige oil spill provides an opportunity to consider practices that will facilitate study of health effects among the 50 000 workers and others exposed during the 2010 Deepwater Horizon spill and future incidents.
Developing job- or task-exposure matrices that encompass the broad spectrum of clean-up activities will help epidemiologists more accurately estimate exposure. ...
Increasing evidence, largely from the Prestige oil spill, suggests that clean-up workers may also experience long-term respiratory effects and chromosomal damage.
Studies in the Gulf of Mexico should investigate acute symptoms reported previously as well as delayed conditions such as cancer.
Leukemia, multiple myeloma, and melanoma are of particular interest, on the basis of evidence from occupational studies of petrochemical workers.
Evidence of genotoxicity and chromosomal damage from the Prestige spill demonstrates the importance of examining biomarkers, such as genetic, epigenetic, immune, and inflammatory alterations because some diseases, including cancer, have a long latency.
*The American College of Physicians (ACP) is a national organization of internists — physicians who specialize in the prevention, detection and treatment of illnesses in adults. ACP is the largest medical-specialty organization and second-largest physician group in the United States. Its membership of 130,000 includes internists, internal medicine subspecialists, and medical students, residents, and fellows.