HOUSTON - BP today announced it is providing $10 million to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) under its Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative (GRI) to support a study of potential public health issues relating to the Gulf oil spill and other spill-related health research. The GRI is a 10-year, $500 million independent research program established by BP to better understand and mitigate the environmental and potential health effects of the Gulf spill.
BP provided NIH the funds to expedite work in support of the research priorities identified at the Institute of Medicine (IOM) workshop commissioned by Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius and summarized in the IOM report “Assessing the Effects of the Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill on Human Health,” released on August 10, 2010.
The BP funding will allow NIH to build on efforts by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Unified Command and is intended to support the immediate needs of researchers, including Gulf Coast academic institutions and local and state agencies, in understanding potential acute and long-term health impacts of exposures to oil, dispersed oil and dispersants.
Decisions regarding the distribution of the $10 million will be made by NIH with input from Gulf state academic institutions and state and local officials to ensure effective coordination with work currently being conducted. All project proposals will be peer reviewed by appropriate experts, and data, measurement information and findings from NIH-funded studies will be made fully and openly available in accordance with standard practice applicable to this type of research.
“BP, in collaboration with the Unified Command, provided task specific training, supplied personal protective equipment and conducted extensive environmental and worker monitoring to protect the health of response workers involved in the cleanup,” said Bob Dudley, CEO of BP’s Gulf Coast Restoration Organization. “But there is much still to be learned from this incident, and BP is providing this funding to NIH because it is well positioned to assure the quality and the integrity of the independent research process.”
The process for awarding future funding under GRI is currently under development in consultation with Gulf state governors’ offices.