Last week the House passed the Oil Pollution Research and Development Program Reauthorization Act of 2010, a bill that amends the post-Exxon Valdez legislation in order to fund research on oil spills.

As part of this bill, Rep. Alan Grayson attached two amendments to, in his words, “expand research on the effects of these spills on the human beings assigned to clean them up.” Critically, the amendments target both oil and dispersants – ingredients in the toxic stew affecting BP Oil Disaster cleanup workers. The video to your right is of Grayson introducing his amendment – classic Grayson clip in which he speaks plainly about what real people need.

Grayson’s first amendment aims to find out how to protect cleanup workers around oil:

Research on technologies, methods, and standards for protecting removal personnel and for volunteers that may participate in incident responses, including training, adequate supervision, protective equipment, maximum exposure limits, and decontamination procedures.

The second amendment sponsored by Grayson is one also supported by Rep. Kathy Dahlkemper (PA-3). Their amendment specifically authorizes research into air monitoring of oil and dispersants for how to protect both cleanup workers and residents around an oil disaster.

The use of both onshore and offshore air quality monitoring to study the effects of oil pollution and oil pollution cleanup technologies on air quality; and making the results, health, and safety warnings readily available to the public, including emergency responders, the research community, local residents, and other interested parties.

While it’s too late for this research to help BP Oil Disaster cleanup workers right now, funding in this bill will be critical to preventing harm to cleanup workers in future oil disasters. This bill next moves to the Senate, which referred the bill to committee. It passed the House by voice vote, so if it gets on to the Senate calendar it shouldn’t have too tough of a time passing.