This project addresses critical public health needs of coastal Gulf of Mexico communities, focusing on potential chronic exposure from long-term consumption of seafood tainted with low levels of oil spill-related contaminants. The project also responds to community concerns about seafood safety for vulnerable populations. Feedback from communities reveal that concerns are based on: (a) the perception of limited seafood sampling and analyses by federal agencies, (b) distrust of information emanating from federal agencies, and (c) a lack of meaningful community-specific outreach. As such, this project will: (1) Determine contaminant profiles from seafood contributed by coastal subsistence (non-commercial) fishers. Subsistence fishers, who rely on gulf seafood as part of their regular diet, will contribute fresh seafood catches, prepared meals, and seafood consumption data through on-site creel surveys and personal interviews. Seafood will be analyzed for a suite of PAHs, TPHs, DOSS (dispersant) and metals;(2) Analyze geospatial relationships between tracked oil from DWHOS versus other natural and anthropogenic sources of petroleum hydrocarbons that may contribute to contaminant residues observed in seafood;(3) Discern seafood consumption and preparation patterns for subsistence fishers and household members contributing seafood samples to this study;and (4) Develop probabilistic risk analyses to provide community-specific, spatially-explicit, and seafood type-specific risk information;and work with communities to provide feedback relative to the health benefits and risks associated with consuming locally-caught seafood. Project outcomes will (a) provide rigorous and trustworthy assessment of contaminant sources and concentrations relative to seafood consumed by vulnerable populations along the northern gulf coast, (b) establish long-term community/stakeholder collaborations, and (c) contribute to the evidence base needed to develop functional recovery strategies, and promote the public health and well-being of populations in future natural and anthropogenic disasters.

Public Health Relevance

This project will address critical public health gaps to discern chronic exposure from long-term consumption of seafood tainted with low levels of oil spill-related contaminants by subsistence fishers. Academic and community-based collaborations will provide risk assessment to protect vulnerable populations, address ongoing community concerns, and promote clean seafood as part of a balanced diet.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS)
Research Program--Cooperative Agreements (U19)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZES1-LWJ-J)
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University of Florida
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