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Environmental Health

The Deepwater Horizon Disaster, Real and Perceived Exposures in Reproductive-Age Women


Jeffery Wickliffe

Jeffrey Wickliffe, PhD is a genetic toxicologist with expertise in both basic and population-based environmental health science who has a track record of research in both Texas and Louisiana. Dr. Wicklife's research focuses on effects resulting from exposure to direct or metabolically-activated genotoxins and mutagens such as ionizing radiation, hazardous air pollutants, elemental metals, and engineered nano materials. His research lab develops and uses markers designed to define mechanisms of toxicity directly affecting nucleic acids or indirectly through non-genotoxic mechanisms and their influence on disease outcomes. Dr. Wickliffe conducted previous research on the impact of the DWH oil spill on the New Orleans East Vietnamese community under a project funded by the National Science Foundation titled "Citizen Science and Environmental Technology."

Dr. Wickliffe and his research team examined the consequent effects on health from the DWH disaster through the analysis and assessment of environmental health risks, real and perceived, and more effectively communicating those risks using a population-tailored approach. Specifically, the study focused on two primary concerns regarding health risks communities indicate they currently face: food safety concerns (primarily shellfish) and air quality concerns.

Gulf Coast BeachPROJECT AIMS
-Determine demographics, DWH knowledge, and aspects of the health risk landscape of women of reproductive age in two unique and culturally distinct communities.
-Determine pre- and post-DWH disaster attitudes towards environmental conditions and determine patterns of seafood consumption behavior.
-Determine levels of petroleum-related hydrocarbons in paired indoor/outdoor air samples as well as petro- and pyrogenic hydrocarbons in locally harvested and consumed seafood.
-Assess and characterize risks posed by hydrocarbons including any crude oil hydrocarbons and characterize the influence of tailored, community-specific analyses of risk on the health risk landscape.

We recruited women between the ages of 18-45 years living in Orleans, Jefferson, St. Bernard, Plaquemines, Terrebonne or Lafourche parishes who participated in our reproductive health project.