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Your Environment. Your Health.

The GuLF STUDY (or Gulf Long Term Follow-Up Study)

Study / Trial Background

The GuLF STUDY is a study of health of clean-up workers and volunteers who responded to the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is sponsoring this study. The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) is leading this research with the support of many local community groups. The GuLF STUDY is designed to find answers to the questions that matter to oil spill clean-up workers and affected communities.

Between 2011 and 2013, about 33,000 participants joined the study by completing a telephone interview, making it the largest study ever conducted on the health effects of an oil spill. Participants include adults ages 21 and over who helped with the oil spill clean up, took training, signed up to work, or were sent to the Gulf to help in some way. More than 11,000 of the participants from the five Gulf coast states completed home examinations, which included additional questionnaires and collection of biological and environmental samples.

The study will examine how different aspects of oil-spill clean-up may affect current and future health. The study will also examine how stress and job loss because of the oil spill can affect health, including mental health. By comparing workers doing specific clean up jobs to others who did not do those jobs, we can learn if health problems are occurring at a higher rate than expected among some groups of workers. The findings from the study may influence long-term public health responses in Gulf communities or responses to other oil spills in the future.

About 76% of participants helped with the clean-up effort some way, and the other 24% trained to work but did not help with clean-up. Participants who worked or volunteered helped with every aspect of clean-up, and some did multiple jobs. The images below shows all the places participants worked.

Eligibility Criteria

  • Ages Eligible for Study: 21 years and older
  • Genders Eligible for Study: All
  • Accepts Healthy Volunteers: No
  • Fall into one of two oil-related exposure categories:
    • Potentially exposed subjects must have completed at least one day of oil-spill clean-up-related work (other than safety training), either paid or volunteer.
    • Unexposed subjects will be individuals who were not directly involved in oil spill clean-up activities, but who worked near the oil spill or completed some oil spill worker training.
  • Pregnant women will be allowed to enroll in the study, and women who become pregnant during the study will not be withdrawn.

Contact Information

For more information please visit the GuLF Study website.

Questions About the Gulf Study from members of the press should be directed to:

Christine Flowers, M.A.
Director, Office of Communications and Public Liaison
Tel 919-260-9651
Fax 301-480-2978

Principal Investigator

Photo of Sandler, Dale P.
Dale Sandler, Ph.D.
Chief, Epidemiology Branch and Senior Investigator
Tel 984-287-3711
Fax 301-480-3290
P.O. Box 12233
Mail Drop A3-05
Durham, N.C. 27709
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