251182 Sampling multi-media contamination in local food chains and communities after the Macondo Oil Spill

Wednesday, November 2, 2011: 10:50 AM

Wilma Subra , Technical Advisor, Louisiana Environmental Action Networks, Baton Rouge, LA
The Deepwater Horizon Macondo rig exploded in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Louisiana on April 20, 2010. One hundred seventy-two million gallons of Louisiana sweet crude flowed into the Gulf of Mexico for 87 days. A total of 1.84 million gallons of dispersant was applied to the crude oil spill. In order to determine the impacts of the crude oil and dispersant on the environment and seafood species, samples of soil, sediment, vegetation and native commercial seafood species were collected from the wetlands along the Louisiana coast. The samples were analyzed for Oil Range Organic Petroleum Hydrocarbons, Polynuclear Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs), Dispersants, and Heavy Metals. The environmental and seafood samples impacted by the BP Crude were contaminated with Oil Range Organics and PAHs. The PAHs in the environmental and seafood samples matched the fingerprint of the BP crude spilled from the Macondo Oil Spill. The results of the sampling were used to educate communities about the status of the seafood in their areas and appropriate risk reduction measures that could be used to alert local agencies. The results of the analysis of sediment and seafood samples were also provided to local, state and federal environmental and human health agencies and policy makers. The health impacts experienced by the coastal communities and cleanup workers, along the northern Gulf of Mexico, associated with exposure to the BP crude were evaluated. The health impacts experienced by communities and cleanup workers matched the health impacts associated with the Macondo Oil Spill and the dispersants used in response to the spill. The data provided input to coastal communities and appropriate agencies who needed to respond to the health care needs of the communities. The information was also used to identify pathways of exposure for community members and mechanisms to reduce their exposure.

Learning Areas:
Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Advocacy for health and health education
Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Environmental health sciences
Public health or related education
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
1. Define the levels of contamination in seafood in the wetlands of Louisiana. 2. Explain and educate the coastal communities who were catching and consuming the contaminated seafood.

Keywords: Environmental Exposures, Community Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have conducted independent research and have a masters in Chemistry and Microbiology. I was the technical advisor on the study being presented and helped to design the study.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.