CDC says monitoring system finds no ill from spill

Andrew Van Dam

About Andrew Van Dam

Andrew Van Dam of The Wall Street Journal previously worked at the AHCJ offices while earning his master’s degree at the Missouri School of Journalism.

The CDC has two major monitoring programs active in the Gulf of Mexico during the spill: The National Poison Data System and Biosense.

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.”

In addition to focusing resources of these two national programs, the CDC has collected state public health monitoring resources from Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida.

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.

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