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Environ Int. 2018 Dec;121(Pt 1):695-702. doi: 10.1016/j.envint.2018.09.058. Epub 2018 Oct 11.

Association between Deepwater Horizon oil spill response and cleanup work experiences and lung function.

Author information

1
Epidemiology Branch, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, National Institutes of Health, Research Triangle Park, NC, United States of America; Department of Global Environmental Health Sciences, Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, New Orleans, LA, United States of America.
2
Epidemiology Branch, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, National Institutes of Health, Research Triangle Park, NC, United States of America; Department of Epidemiology, Gillings School of Global Public Health, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC, United States of America.
3
Epidemiology Branch, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, National Institutes of Health, Research Triangle Park, NC, United States of America.
4
Social & Scientific Systems Inc., Durham, NC, United States of America.
5
Stewart Exposure Assessments, LLC, Arlington, VA, United States of America.
6
Exposure Assessment Applications, LLC, Arlington, VA, United States of America.
7
Department of Global Environmental Health Sciences, Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, New Orleans, LA, United States of America.
8
Epidemiology Branch, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, National Institutes of Health, Research Triangle Park, NC, United States of America. Electronic address: sandler@niehs.nih.gov.

Abstract

INTRODUCTION:

Oil spill response and cleanup (OSRC) workers had potentially stressful experiences during mitigation efforts following the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster. Smelling chemicals; skin or clothing contact with oil; heat stress; handling oily plants/wildlife or dead animal recovery; and/or being out of regular work may have posed a risk to worker respiratory health through psychological stress mechanisms.

OBJECTIVE:

To evaluate the association between six potentially stressful oil spill experiences and lung function among OSRC workers 1-3 years following the Deepwater Horizon disaster, while controlling for primary oil spill inhalation hazards and other potential confounders.

METHODS:

Of 6811 GuLF STUDY participants who performed OSRC work and completed a quality spirometry test, 4806 provided information on all exposures and confounders. We carried out complete case analysis and used multiple imputation to assess risk among the larger sample. Potentially stressful work experiences were identified from an earlier study of these workers. The lung function parameters of interest include the forced expiratory volume in 1 s (FEV1, mL), the forced vital capacity (FVC, mL) and the ratio (FEV1/FVC, %).

RESULTS:

On average, participants in the analytic sample completed spirometry tests 1.7 years after the spill. Among workers with at least 2 acceptable FEV1 and FVC curves, workers with jobs that involved oily plants/wildlife or dead animal recovery had lower values for FEV1 (Mean difference: -53 mL, 95% CI: -84, -22), FVC (Mean difference: -45 mL, 95% CI: -81, -9) and FEV1/FVC (Mean difference: -0.44%, 95% CI: -0.80, -0.07) compared to unexposed workers in analyses using multiple imputation.

CONCLUSIONS:

Workers involved in handling oily plants/wildlife or dead animal recovery had lower lung function than unexposed workers after accounting for other OSRC inhalation hazards.

KEYWORDS:

Deepwater Horizon; Lung function; Nonchemical stressors; Oil spill; Spirometry

PMID:
30317099
PMCID:
PMC6400458
[Available on 2019-12-01]
DOI:
10.1016/j.envint.2018.09.058
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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