Monday, June 21, 2010

Both oil spill and clean-up pose health risks

Cleaning the Gulf oil mess "is very toxic work," warns Linda McCauley, dean of Emory's school of nursing. In the video above, McCauley discusses some of the human health concerns associated with the ecological disaster, from the physical effects of inhaling chemicals to depression.

You can listen to McCauley discuss more about potential psychological effects of the oil spill on Gulf coast residents in this WABE Atlanta report.

A nationally recognized environmental health researcher, McCauley is among the scientists participating in an Institute of Medicine workshop in New Orleans exploring the potential short- and long-term health impact of the nation's worst oil spill.

In the video below, she explains that the safety of the chemical being sprayed into the ocean to disperse the oil is debatable. "Dispersants help take off oil that's floating in water, but when you emulsify it, it sinks down in the water," McCauley says. "Environmentalists are very concerned about what's happening to the animal and plant life by sinking the oil to the bottom of the ocean."

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