The National Poison Data System tracks calls to American poison centers. As of July 12, it had tracked 1,221 calls regarding the spill, 722 of which regarded exposure to spill-related toxins such as oil, dispersant or food contaminants. The other 499 calls came from folks seeking information about the health effects of the spill. The majority of the calls have come from the gulf states, but some originated from as far away as California, Michigan and Massachusetts.
Biosense is a public health tool that tracks real-time changes in a population’s health status. Among other things, it tracks more than 80 health facilities on the Gulf Coast and provides states affected by the spill with daily updates. According to the latest available data, it has “found no trends in the number of illnesses and injuries that would require further public health investigation.”
Rafael Olmeda of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel points out that the CDC has posted “Gulf Oil Spill Information for Pregnant Women,” which generally advises everyone to stay away from oil spill affected areas.
- Tip sheet: reporting on the intersection of health, environment
- Mental health impact of the BP spill multiplies
- Resources for reporting on health and the oil spill
- CDC Emergency Response and Preparedness
- A recent Dart Centre Europe panel looked at covering the human consequences of environmental disaster.
- Grief in the Gulf: Tanya Paperny writes about the challenge of reporting a slow-motion disaster.
- Dart Center resources for covering the Deepwater Horizon Spill