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||The Gulf Long-Term Follow-Up Study (GuLF STUDY): Biospecimen collection at enrollment.
||Engel LS, Kwok RK, Miller AK, Blair A, Curry MD, McGrath JA, Sandler DP
||J Toxicol Environ Health A
||The 2010 Deepwater Horizon (DWH) explosion in the Gulf of Mexico led to the largest ever marine oil spill by volume. The GuLF STUDY is investigating possible adverse human health effects associated with oil spill activities. One objective of the study was to utilize biological specimens from study participants to examine spill-related adverse health effects. This study describes the methods for collecting, processing, shipping, and storing specimens during the enrollment phase of the study. GuLF STUDY participants living in Gulf States (Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, and eastern Texas) were eligible to complete a home visit at enrollment, one to three years after the DWH explosion. During this visit, blood, urine, toenail and hair clippings, and house dust samples were collected. Specimens were shipped overnight to a central processing laboratory in containers with cold and ambient temperature compartments. Most blood and urine specimens were then aliquoted and stored in liquid nitrogen vapor or at -80°C, with some samples stored at -20°C. A total of 11,193 participants completed a home visit, and over 99% provided at least one biospecimen. Most participants provided blood (93%), urine (99%), and toenail clippings (89%), and 40% provided hair. Nearly all participants (95%) provided house-dust samples. Most samples were received by the laboratory one (58%) or two (25%) days after collection. These biospecimens enable investigation of a range of biomarkers of spill-related adverse health effects, and possibly some biomarkers of spill-related exposures. The biospecimen collection, handling, and storage protocols were designed to maximize current and future scientific value within logistical and budgetary constraints and might serve as a template for future studies conducted in similar time-critical and geographically dispersed settings.