Deepwater Horizon also know as the largest oil spill in US history has created emerging concerns over future health impacts from this devastating disaster that has plagued the Gulf of Mexico since the rig first exploded on April 20th. Health risk from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill will be the mainstay of our thought since this disaster occured and for years to come. This explosion rendered 11 people missing and 17 injured. To date there are 162 cases that have been reported to the Louisiana Department of Health. Their illnesses are believed to be directly related to the widespread oil spill and the chemical dispersants being used to break up the oil. 128 are rig workers and people involved directly with the oil spill clean efforts. 15 cases have been reported in Alabama also. 2,ooo people have sought out help for mental issues such as depression and anxiety since this occurred.

Scientist disagree over the lasting impact that the Deepwater Horizon oil spill will have on health issues. Some feel that the initial exposure will make one sick, but damaging effects are reversible with time. Others are not so enthusiastic since the compounds in crude oil contain a number of carcinogens that can alter human DNA and fresh oil contains the carcinogen benzene. High concentrations of these compounds could be hazardous. Numerous federal agencies has team up with state and local agencies to study and monitor possible negative outcome of worker and affected residents. The Institute of Medicine has been contracted to convene as independent panel to study the health risk relating to this disaster.

Symptoms being reported to the Department of Health range from but are not limited to coughing, sore throat, eye irritation, headaches, nausea, flu-like symptoms, chest pain and shortness of breath. Some patients had to be hospitalized overnight. Others have been treat for skin irritations that can cause swelling, redness, and rash. Still others have been treated for heatstroke, especially with the large number of volunteers that may not be use to such hot temperature or may have inadequate training. Health official state that exposed children will likely suffer worse than adults. Their bodies do not detoxify chemical as efficiently as adults. They are also smaller and therefore closer to the contaminated environment enabling them to breath in potentially a higher concentration of chemicals.

As far as the food supply goes, all fisheries in the Gulf have been ordered closed, and the FDA is testing processed seafood for toxicity at this time. Oysters, crab, and shrimp retain contaminants for larger periods of time and they will be the focus of their investigation.

Health risk from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill has become a major concern for those working at the clean up site, or living near the ocean. To ensure the safety of the public, anyone becoming ill after exposure to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill via touching or swallowing contaminated water or objects, or by inhaling oil fumes should contact their doctor immediately and seek out medical attention. There should be some record of exposure to ensure compensation in case of long term effects. God forbid it comes to that, but as for the 11 missing I guess it did.