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UCSF Doctors Warn of Health Problems After Oil Spill

On the day that Gulf Coast fishermen head back to sea for the opening of shrimping season, UC San Francisco researchers are warning of long term physical and mental health problems stemming from the oil spill. They want to alert local doctors there to be on the lookout for hidden symptoms.

Dr Gina Solomon, director of UCSF's occupational environmental medicine residency program is co-author of the commentary in the Journal of the American Medical Association. She says oil spill workers, fishermen and residents have already reported headaches, breathing problems and rashes, but she's worried about their mental health as well. She says studies after the Exxon Valdez spill found depression, anxiety even post-traumatic stress disorder.

"Right after I was down on the Gulf Coast the last time, one of the fishermen down in Venice, LA, committed suicide," she said.

Soloman says there aren't enough doctors in some of the rural areas of Louisiana, and she wants to remind them to look for signs of what may be spill related illnesses, even years after the clean up has wrapped up.


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