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Preparing for the Next Public Health Crisis: Establishing a Public Health Response Plan to AddressThreats Such as the Gulf Oil Disaster

Preparing for the Next Public Health Crisis: Establishing a Public Health Response Plan to AddressThreats Such as the Gulf Oil Disaster

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Ellen-Marie Whelan and Lesley Russell outline a new Public Health Response Plan to most effectively respond to the next public health crisis the nation faces.
Ellen-Marie Whelan and Lesley Russell outline a new Public Health Response Plan to most effectively respond to the next public health crisis the nation faces.

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Categories:Topics, Art & Design
Published by: Center for American Progress on Jul 12, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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09/23/2010

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www.americanprogress.org
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Preparing for the NextPublic Health Crisis
Establishing a Public Health Response Plan to AddressThreats Such as the Gul Oil Disaster
Ellen-Marie Whelan and Lesley Russell July 2010
 
Preparing for the NextPublic Health Crisis
Establishing a Public Health Response Plan toAddress Threats Such as the Gul Oil Disaster
Ellen-Marie Whelan and Lesley Russell July 2010
 
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Introduction and summary
 We’ve all seen picures o he dreadul and coninuing aermah o he explosionon he Deepwaer Horizon oil well in he Gul o Mexico. Te environmenalcleanup and he economic consequences o his will las ar ino he uure, andi’s hard o imagine ha he ime will come when umes rom oil, chemicals, and burning no longer pollue he air, oceans aren’ covered wih shees o oil, beachesaren’ sained wih ar, and marshes aren’ clogged wih residues. Bu wih hard work ha will evenually be he case. A ha poin he Unied Command—which was esablished under U.S. Coas Guard leadership o manage he response ohis disaser—will old, he cleanup workers will go home, and he ra o workers brough in rom diverse agencies as par o he emergency response will be pulled back o deal wih oher more urgen asks.Bu healh hreas rom he oil spill may linger unseen, perhaps or more han ageneraion. And we will no be ully prepared o address he public healh prob-lems ha arise in he uure unless here is an eecive and coordinaed handovero responsibiliies or proecing public healh rom he emergency responseagencies o agencies wih he capabiliy and capaciy or long-erm monioringand managemen. Federal agencies have been pulled in as needed in he gul spillresponse, bu i’s no clear ha he Healh and Human Services response has beensynchronized rom he op o ensure eecive delivery and coordinaion.In shor, he spill reieraes why we need o beter manage he shor- and long-erm responses required o address he public healh hreas such disasers pose wheher hey are manmade or due o naural causes.No sysemaic long-erm monioring and oversigh was pu in place wih heExxon Valdez spill in 1989, and now we wonder wha we missed. Several sudiesollowing he Presige oil spill o he coas o Spain in 2002 indicae ha somerespiraory problems in cleanup workers didn’ show up unil years aer he spill.
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  Addiionally, evidence suggess DNA damage occurred o hese workers hacould lead o cancers and aleraions in hormone saus.
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