Impact on Children and Families of the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill: Preliminary Findings of the Coastal Population Impact Study

Although the ruptured Deepwater Horizon oil well was capped on July 15, 2010, an estimated 3 to 5 million barrels of oil spilled in to the Gulf of Mexico over a three-month period. Several surveys prior to the capping of the well documented the concerns and immediate effects of the oil spill on coastal residents. One report by a team of LSU sociologists highlighted the anxiety caused by the oil spill – nearly 60% of the 925 coastal Louisiana residents interviewed said they were almost constantly worried by the oil spill. As the “acute phase” of the oil spill transitions to a longer-term “chronic phase,” researchers at Columbia University’s National Center for Disaster Preparedness, in collaboration with the Children’s Health Fund and The Marist Poll, interviewed over 1,200 coastal residents in Louisiana and Mississippi, with a particular focus on the short- and potential long-term impact of the disaster on children. This study was informed by work the researchers have done post-Katrina as part of the Gulf Coast Child & Family Health Study, which has documented the enduring effects on impacted populations in the two states, particularly children.

Mental Health
Children & Disasters
Vulnerable Populations
Disaster Recovery
Technological Disasters