CDC/ATSDR Guidance on the Interpretation and Use of Blood Laboratory Analyses for Volatile Organic Compounds [open pdf - 102KB]
"The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) recently received reports of analyses of volatile organic compounds (VOC) in blood samples from a few Gulf Coast residents, volunteers, or workers. CDC and ATSDR guidelines issued during the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill did not recommend the use of laboratory testing for specific chemicals to either determine exposure or guide delivery of clinical care; nonetheless, we recognize that clinicians may have offered these tests to their patients to provide reassurance or to respond to patient requests. The Gulf oil spill had a major impact on the environment and communities, and concerns about human health are understandable. For several months CDC and state health departments tracked potential short-term health effects related to the oil spill in the affected communities. No trends in illnesses were identified by the multiple surveillance systems used. CDC surveillance did detect some complaints of non-specific symptoms such as throat irritation, eye irritation, nausea, headache and cough. Based on other oil spill disasters, symptoms related to mental or behavioral health such as anxiety, stress and depression also would reasonably be expected. For treatment and management of these symptoms, standard clinical protocols guided by the presentation of the patient are appropriate, and no laboratory testing for specific chemicals is indicated."
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: http://emergency.cdc.gov