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Gulf oil spill: Fouling air as well as water?

The EPA says some communities in Louisiana face a 'moderate health risk' due to hydrocarbon fumes from the Gulf oil spill. Researchers will report air quality findings this week.

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Smoke rises from a controlled burn of contained oil from the Deepwater Horizon oil well leak on the Gulf of Mexico near the coast of Louisiana Friday, July 16. Researchers suspect adverse health effects from air pollution tied to the Gulf oil spill.

Patrick Semansky/AP

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Questions about air pollution related to the BP oil spill may get some clearer answers this coming week, as university researchers and a Louisiana environmental group release initial findings of their independent analysis of the Gulf region’s air quality.

Last week, the EPA said that residents of two hard hit coastal communities in Louisiana – Grand Isle and Venice – face a “moderate health risk” due to hydrocarbon fumes. In Terrebonne Parish, residents of the town of Cocodrie and the surrounding area are also reporting strong odors of petroleum.

For months since BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil well blew, residents along the Gulf Coast, including many in New Orleans and other metro regions miles away from the shore, have said they smell fumes from the oil spill. Some have reported symptoms ranging from red eyes and runny noses to sinus infections and flu-like symptoms.

IN PICTURES: The Gulf oil spill's impact on nature

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