“The Gulf Long-term Follow-up Study (GuLF STUDY) is the largest study ever conducted on the potential health effects associated with an oil spill, with nearly 33,000 participants. The GuLF STUDY is focused on prospectively determining both physical and mental health effects related to the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill and is collecting information that can be used by individuals, communities and governments to better understand the consequences of oil spills and plan for future disasters. The GuLF STUDY was initiated in June 2010 in response to the April 2010 explosion of the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig and resulting oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico differed from previous spill in that the leak was at the ocean floor rather than on the surface. However, the area covered, the proximity to populated communities, the number of potentially exposed workers and community members, and the duration of the spill were far greater than any previously studied oil spills. Of more than 40 prior major oil spills, only 8 led to studies of health effects and only two of these – in Spain and South Korea – included any long-term follow-up. Early data from these studies suggested that respiratory and genotoxicity effects were important to capture, as well as mental health outcomes commonly associated with disasters of this scale.”
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