This project addresses public health in coastal Gulf of Mexico communities, focusing on potential chronic exposure from long-term consumption of seafood potentially tainted with low levels of oil spill-related contaminants.
The project specifically addresses citizen concerns about seafood safety. These concerns are based, in part, on a lack of meaningful communications and community-specific outreach that have led to distrust of information coming from state and federal agencies.
Although federal and state reports indicate that Gulf seafood is now safe to eat, substantial concerns linger within coastal communities regarding seafood safety. These concerns are associated with a broad range of issues including: lack of robust sampling strategies to analyze local inshore and non-commercial seafood species, failure to sample and report positive anlytical data (i.e., “seafood is safe compared to what?”), application of unprecidented amounts of dispersant, climatological events, and poor communications between federal, state and local authorities and citizens.
To address some of these issues, we have worked with community partners and affiliates to (1) identify specific concerns, (2) develop and implement seafood samping strategies that are germane to different Gulf coast communities, (3) analyze inshore harvested seafood for oil spill-related contaminants, (4) implement seafood consumption surveys, and (5) develop meaningful outeach materials and platforms to share project results.