Policy: Environment & Energy

4 years after spill, questions on long-term health

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Photo - Bert Ducote shows the place where he had a boyle lanced and another boyle underneath his belly button that he claims are the result of being in direct contact with crude oil while performing cleanup work during the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Photo taken at the Lake Catherine Marina in New Orleans, Friday, March 7, 2014. (AP Photo/Andrea Mabry)
Bert Ducote shows the place where he had a boyle lanced and another boyle underneath his belly button that he claims are the result of being in direct contact with crude oil while performing cleanup work during the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Photo taken at the Lake Catherine Marina in New Orleans, Friday, March 7, 2014. (AP Photo/Andrea Mabry)
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CHALMETTE, La. (AP) — A government researcher who hopes to track the long-term health effects of the 2010 BP oil spill says there are early indications that cleanup workers were 30 percent more likely to suffer from depression than others living in areas affected by the spill.

Dr. Dale Sandler of the National Institutes of Environmental Health Sciences said Friday it's too early to know whether exposure to oil or dispersants would account for higher levels of depression.

Sandler heads up a study in which nearly 33,000 people — cleanup workers or those who applied for cleanup work — are being surveyed on health matters. She said about 4,000 are being asked to undergo a new round of physical exams planned at universities in Mobile, Ala., and New Orleans.

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