Text: H.R.6017 — 111th Congress (2009-2010)All Information (Except Text)

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Introduced in House (07/30/2010)


111th CONGRESS
2d Session
H. R. 6017


To amend the Public Health Service Act to ensure that the Federal Government has independent, peer-reviewed scientific data and information to assess short-term and long-term direct and indirect impacts on the health of oil spill clean-up workers and vulnerable residents resulting from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, and for other purposes.


IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

July 30, 2010

Mrs. Capps introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Energy and Commerce


A BILL

To amend the Public Health Service Act to ensure that the Federal Government has independent, peer-reviewed scientific data and information to assess short-term and long-term direct and indirect impacts on the health of oil spill clean-up workers and vulnerable residents resulting from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, and for other purposes.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. Short title.

This Act may be cited as the “Gulf Coast Health Monitoring and Research Program Act of 2010”.

SEC. 2. Gulf Coast health monitoring and research program.

Part P of title III of the Public Health Service Act (42 U.S.C. 280g et seq.) is amended by adding at the end the following:

“SEC. 399V–5. Gulf Coast health monitoring and research program.

“(a) In general.—To ensure that the Federal Government has independent, peer-reviewed scientific data and information to assess short-term and long-term direct and indirect impacts on the health of oil spill clean-up workers and vulnerable residents resulting from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, the Secretary, in consultation with the Secretary of Labor, the Secretary of Commerce, and the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, shall establish as soon as practicable after date of enactment of this section, a short-term and long-term comprehensive health screening, monitoring, and research program of oil spill workers and vulnerable residents, and of food safety affected by the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

“(b) Scope of program.—The program established under subsection (a) shall at a minimum include screening affected individuals for physical and behavioral health effects from the oil spill and the collection of exposure and health effects data on a statistically robust cohort of workers and vulnerable residents. In addition, this program shall include research on food safety of Gulf Coast seafood and the fresh water supply. This program shall coordinate with other Federal agencies, including the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, and the Environmental Protection Agency, to ensure that health-related data from exposures related to the oil spill or clean-up efforts in the possession of such agencies is made available to the program. Data collected by or on behalf of BP PLC shall also be included.

“(c) Research advisory committee.—

“(1) ESTABLISHMENT.—Not later than 60 days after the date of enactment of this section, the Secretary shall appoint an independent technical advisory committee to be known as the Gulf Coast Health Research Advisory Committee.

“(2) PURPOSE.—The purpose of the Advisory Committee shall be—

“(A) to offer high quality scientific research advice to the program established under this section, including proactive advice regarding each agency’s long-term monitoring and research objectives relating to workers and vulnerable residents at risk from the Deepwater Horizon disaster and other oil spills; and

“(B) to provide a forum for ensuring that health concerns of workers and the public are considered in determining the priorities for scientific research.

“(3) MEMBERSHIP.—

“(A) COMPOSITION.—The Advisory Committee shall be composed of at least 10 but not more than 15 members. Members shall be qualified by education, training, and experience to provide scientific and technical advice with regard to environmental health and occupational health methods and research, including epidemiology, dose reconstruction, toxicology, risk and health communication, and medical ethics. At least 4 members shall be representative of the concerned and affected populations, including 1 member to represent commercial fishermen who were part of the Vessel of Opportunities program organized by BP PLC to recruit boat owners to assist in the response to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, 1 member to represent other workers involved in cleanup of spill, and 2 members to represent the potentially affected public in Gulf coastal communities. Consultants and nonvoting liaison representatives may be invited as needed.

“(B) APPOINTMENT AND TERMS.—The Secretary shall appoint Advisory Committee members, including a chair and vice chair to the Advisory Committee. Each term of a member’s service on the Advisory Committee shall be 3 years, except for initial terms, which may be up to 5 years in length to allow staggering. Members may be reappointed and may serve after expiration of their terms until their successors have been seated on the Advisory Committee.

“(C) CONFLICTS OF INTEREST.—The Secretary shall establish requirements to ensure that members of the Advisory Committee do not have any conflicts of interest.

“(4) DUTIES.—The Advisory Committee shall—

“(A) provide advice on the development and implementation of the health research program;

“(B) respond to requests for advice from the appropriate Federal official on matters within the Advisory Committee’s expertise; and

“(C) as appropriate, review reports or other documents submitted to the appropriate Federal officials pursuant to this section to obtain information on protecting the health and safety of cleanup workers and vulnerable communities.

“(d) Cooperation and consultation.—In developing the research and monitoring program established under subsection (a), the Secretary shall consult with related agencies in the Department of Labor (including the Occupational Safety and Health Administration), the Department of Commerce (including the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration), and the Environmental Protection Agency, and shall consult with—

“(1) appropriate representatives from the Gulf Coast States and localities;

“(2) local and State health department officials;

“(3) academic institutions and other research organizations;

“(4) worker representatives, community representatives, and other members of the Gulf Coast communities; and

“(5) other experts with expertise in human health and environmental monitoring and research.

“(e) Duties.—The primary duty of the program established in section (a) is to implement and carry out the health program, including collecting baseline health information, and conducting health screening, monitoring, surveillance, and research. The program specifically shall include the following research elements:

“(1) Exposure of workers and vulnerable residents to oil, dispersants, and other chemicals and physical hazards during the clean-up effort, including—

“(A) information about the use of personal protective equipment;

“(B) biological sampling where appropriate; and

“(C) information on such exposure of workers and vulnerable residents who may be more susceptible to environmental health impacts due to their age, preexisting health status, pregnancy status, or other factors determined by the Secretary.

“(2) Acute health symptoms or biological findings during the active clean-up period.

“(3) Reproductive effects or effects on fetal or infant development, where relevant.

“(4) Chronic health effects, including genetic and immunological alterations in cells and tissues.

“(5) Mental health effects, including stress, anxiety, depression, PTSD, and related symptoms.

“(6) Levels of elevated hazardous substances in Gulf Coast seafood and local fresh water sources.

“(7) Other elements considered necessary by the Secretary to ensure a comprehensive environmental health research and monitoring program—

“(A) to comprehend and understand the implications to worker and public health caused by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill; and

“(B) to make such recommendations to the Secretary as may assist in improving the response to, and management and monitoring of, any future oil spills.

“(f) Report.—No later than 1 year after the establishment of the program under subsection (a), and biennially thereafter, the Secretary shall forward to the Congress and make available to the public a comprehensive report summarizing the activities and findings of the program and detailing areas and issues requiring future monitoring and research. Reports shall continue for at least 20 years after the date of enactment of this section, and the Secretary may extend the reporting provision beyond this initial period based upon a determination that additional monitoring and research is warranted. After 3 years, the Advisory Committee shall issue a report, forwarded to the Congress and made available to the public, examining lessons learned and a blueprint of best practices to handle future environmental health disasters, including strategies for rapid deployment of data collection and health monitoring and registering of individuals exposed to the environmental health disaster.

“(g) Disclosure authority.—The Secretary may by order compel BP PLC to provide health-related data and information collected by or on behalf of BP PLC, except to the extent such data or information is protected from disclosure under Federal law.

“(h) Availability of data.—The Secretary shall maintain and archive information obtained or generated through the program established under subsection (a) in a manner that will facilitate use of such information for the health monitoring and research purposes of the program and ensure that it is accessible and available to governmental and nongovernmental personnel for relevant research in accordance with applicable State and Federal law. Individual health information shall be handled in a manner that will protect individual patient confidentiality.

“(i) Definitions.—For the purposes of this section—

“(1) the term ‘Gulf Coast State’ means each of the States of Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida;

“(2) the term ‘Advisory Committee’ means the Gulf Coast Health Research Advisory Committee established under subsection (c).

“(3) the term ‘vulnerable residents’ means individuals who live in Gulf Coast States in areas where they may be exposed to hazardous substances related to the oil spill; and

“(4) the term ‘workers’ means paid or volunteer staff participating in the Deepwater Horizon oil spill cleanup.”.