Out of the 38 major oil disasters, only 7 have studied human health effects of exposure to an oil spill and only one study looked into the potential for long-term human health effects (The Prestige, Dr. Laffon, University of A Coruna, Spain). Each of the seven studies found disturbing human health impacts to spill clean-up workers and volunteers. The Prestige spill documented genotoxicity (DNA damage) in clean-up workers, which is a severe chronic (long-term) health problem and has disturbing implications for BP oil disaster clean-up workers.Unfortunately, we have another opportunity to study the human health impacts from oil exposure. The good news is, unlike Valdez, scientists are stepping up to study the problem. The National Institute of Environmental Health Science (NIEHS) will be the lead agency for the GuLF (Gulf Long-Term Follow-up) Study, a prospective study designed to assess the potential short- and long-term health effects associated with the Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill clean-up workers/volunteers. Read more here. Casey DeMoss Roberts, MSPH is the Assistant Director of Water Resources for the Gulf Restoration Network.