Louisiana State University To Investigate Health Effects Of Gulf Oil Spill

Recreational fishermen have returned to Grand Isle, Louisiana, April 18, 2011, a year after the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The explosion of the Deepwater Horizon killed 11 men working on the platform and caused an underwater leak that gushed 53,000 barrels of oil a day for three months.  UPI/A.J. Sisco.

Louisiana State University researchers will lead a five-year, $25 million investigation into the long-term health effects of last year's Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

"We will seek to identify the many ways these resilient folks managed to rebound and adapt to disruptions," Craig Colten,the Carl O. Sauer Professor of Geography at LSU, said in a press release. "Sometimes solutions are well known to experienced local residents with generations of experience in coping with irregular, but not unexpected, traumatic events."

Colten, a historical geographer, will lead the multi-university investigation, funded by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) a division of the National Institutes of Health, together with the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston.

Colten will identify past methods that have enabled coastal societies to bounce back after similar disasters, including floods, hurricanes, economic turmoil and previous oil spills, methods that have been overlooked in previous studies, and stem from traditions rather than government programs.

Colten's aim is to work with communities to strengthen traditional methods of resilience to better cope with future oil spills and other calamities.

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