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Disaster Med Public Health Prep. 2016 Apr;10(2):233-9. doi: 10.1017/dmp.2015.160. Epub 2016 Feb 16.

Detrimental Health Effects of Benzene Exposure in Adults After a Flaring Disaster at the BP Refinery Plant in Texas City.

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University Cancer and Diagnostic Centers,Houston,Texas.



To examine the adverse effects of benzene exposure in adults from a prolonged flaring disaster at the BP refinery in Texas City, Texas.


Adults aged 18 years and older who had been exposed and unexposed to benzene were included. We reviewed medical charts and compared measures of white blood cells (WBCs), platelets, hemoglobin, hematocrit, blood urea nitrogen (BUN), creatinine, alkaline phosphatase (ALP), aspartate amino transferase (AST), and alanine amino transferase (ALT) in exposed and unexposed adults.


Records from 2213 adults (benzene exposed, n=1826; unexposed, n=387) were reviewed. Benzene-exposed subjects had significantly higher WBC counts (7.9±2.3 vs 6.8±1.6×10(3) per µL, P=0.0000) and platelet counts (270.8±60.9 vs 242.5±53.7×10(3) per µL, P=0.0000) than did the unexposed subjects. Serum creatinine levels were also significantly higher in the exposed group than in the unexposed group (1.0±0.2 vs 0.8±0.2 mg/dL, P=0.000). Serum levels of ALP were significantly higher in the exposed subjects than in the unexposed subjects (82.1±15.6 vs 71.8±8.2 IU/L, P=0.000). Similarly, benzene-exposed subjects had significantly higher levels of AST (26.2±6.4 vs 19.7±5.3 IU/L, P=0.000) and ALT (30.6±10.8 vs 20.9±9.6 IU/L, P=0.000) than in those unexposed to benzene.


Benzene exposure resulted in significant alterations in hematologic and liver profiles in adults.


benzene poisoning; blood disorders; chemical exposure; health impact; hematologic toxicity; hepatotoxicity; petroleum refinery

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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