Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Exposure, Industry Sector, and Child Health

The historic 2010 BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill (DHOS) led to public distress regarding potential impacts on children in nearby Gulf Coast communities. Using a community-based South Louisiana panel study of households with children, we examined the effect of fishing industry employment on changes in a subjective measure of general child health and whether economic and physical DHOS exposures played a mediating role. Fishing industry employment had a negative effect on child health compared to other industries. Economic exposure and physical exposure both mediated the effects of the fishing industry on child health, with economic exposure mediating a larger share (49.3%) of the relationship compared to physical exposure (40.5%). The importance of economic oil spill exposure in these findings highlights the significance of social determinants of health at the intersection of disasters and child vulnerability.