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J Occup Environ Med. 2018 Jun;60(6):e312-e318. doi: 10.1097/JOM.0000000000001292.

Exposure to Oil Spill Chemicals and Lung Function in Deepwater Horizon Disaster Response Workers.

Author information

Epidemiology Branch, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, National Institutes of Health, Research Triangle Park, North Carolina (Ms Gam, Drs Kwok, Engel, Sandler); Department of Global Environmental Health Sciences, Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, New Orleans, Louisiana (Ms Gam, Dr Lichtveld); Department of Epidemiology, Gillings School of Global Public Health, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina (Dr Engel); Social & Scientific Systems Inc., Durham, North Carolina (Mr Curry, Mr McGrath, Mr Jackson II); Stewart Exposure Assessments, LLC, Arlington, Virginia (Dr Stewart); Exposure Assessment Applications, LLC, Arlington, Virginia (Mr Stenzel); Pulmonary Division, University of Utah and Intermountain Medical Center, Salt Lake City, Utah (Dr Jensen); Office of the Director, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland (Dr Miller).



The aim of this study was to assess the relationship between total hydrocarbon (THC) exposures attributed to oil spill clean-up work and lung function 1 to 3 years after the Deepwater Horizon (DWH) disaster.


We used data from the GuLF STUDY, a large cohort of adults who worked on response to the DWH disaster and others who were safety trained but did not work. We analyzed data from 6288 workers with two acceptable spirometry tests. We estimated THC exposure levels with a job exposure matrix. We evaluated lung function using the forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1; mL), the forced vital capacity (FVC; mL), and the FEV1/FVC ratio (%).


Lung function measures did not differ by THC exposure levels among clean-up workers.


We did not observe an association between THC exposure and lung function among clean-up workers 1 to 3 years following the DWH disaster.

[Available on 2019-06-01]

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