Acute health problems among subjects involved in the clean-up operation following the Prestige oil spill in Asturias and Cantabria (SPAIN)

Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Madrid, Madrid, Spain
Environmental Research (Impact Factor: 4.37). 12/2005; 99(3):413-24. DOI: 10.1016/j.envres.2004.12.012
Source: PubMed


The purpose of this study was to evaluate exposure conditions and acute health effects in subjects participating in the Prestige oil spill cleanup activities and the association between these and the nature of the work and use of protection devices in the regions of Asturias and Cantabria (Spain). The sample comprised 400 subjects in each region, selected from a random sampling of all persons involved in cleanup activities, stratified by type of worker and number of working days. Data were obtained via a structured questionnaire and included information on specific tasks, number of working days, use of protective materials, and acute health effects. These effects were classified into two broad groups: injuries and toxic effects. Data analysis was performed using complex survey methods. Significant differences between groups were evaluated using Pearson's chi(2) test. Unconditional logistic regression was used to compute odds ratios and 95% confidence intervals. Bird cleaners accounted for the highest prevalence of injuries (19% presented with lesions). Working more than 20 days in highly polluted areas was associated with increased risk of injury in all workers. Occurrence of toxic effects was higher among seamen, possibly due to higher exposure to fuel oil and its components. Toxic effects were more frequent among those working longer than 20 days in highly polluted areas, performing three or more different cleaning activities, having skin contact with fuel oil on head/neck or upper limbs, and eating while in contact with fuel or perceiving disturbing odors. No severe disorders were identified among individuals who performed these tasks. However, potential health impact should be considered when organizing cleanup activities in similar environmental disasters.

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Available from: Beatriz Perez-Gomez
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    • "Acute symptoms such as eye symptoms, headaches , skin symptoms, neurovestibular symptoms and respiratory symptoms, persisted for more than 1 to 2 years after one large oil spill accident (Na et al., 2012). Studies on oil spill incidents elsewhere were reported (Morita et al., 1999; Suarez et al., 2005) including recent studies on hematological toxicity (D'Andrea and Reddy, 2013) and principal somatic symptoms and complaints (D'Andrea and Reddy, 2014a) in relation with the Gulf oil spill accident. However, few previous studies have looked at the health effects of oil spill exposure over prolonged periods (Rodriguez-Trigo et al., 2010; Zock et al., 2007, 2012). "
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    ABSTRACT: The oil tanker Hebei Spirit spilled 12,547kL of oil near the western coastline of Korea on December 7, 2007. We aimed to investigate the relationship between oil spill exposure and oxidative stress in residents living near the affected area. Study subjects were 671 residents who participated in a health examination between February and September 2009. As surrogates for oil spill exposure, we used the total duration of clean-up work and levels of urinary metabolites of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), 1-hydroxypyrene (1-OHP) and 2-naphthol (2-NAPH). Oxidative stress was measured using urinary levels of malondialdehyde (MDA) and 8-hydroxy-2'-deoxyguanosine (8-OHdG), indicators of lipid peroxidation and oxidative DNA damage, respectively. Levels of oxidative stress biomarkers were significantly increased with longer involvement in clean-up work over one year after the Hebei Spirit oil spill (MDA, p-trend<0.0001; 8-OHdG, p-trend<0.0001). As more time elapsed since the last involvement in clean-up, the total duration of clean-up work participation and levels of PAH metabolites (1-OHP and 2-NAPH), as well as levels of the oxidative stress biomarkers (MDA and 8-OHdG) decreased further. The level of 1-OHP had a significant positive correlation with the total duration of clean-up work involvement, with a higher level found in those who participated in clean-up for >100days. Increasing levels of 1-OHP were significantly associated with increased MDA and 8-OHdG after adjusting for covariates, while the strength of association weakened as time passed since the last participation in clean-up work. The significance of the association was maintained for up to 12months after the last clean-up work. The results suggested that oil exposure from prolonged clean-up activity likely induced oxidative stress in clean-up participants up to at least one year after the last exposure. Copyright © 2015. Published by Elsevier B.V.
    Full-text · Article · Feb 2015 · Science of The Total Environment
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    • "As a consequence of the high impact that Prestige spill had on such rich and valuable natural environment, a general concern led to a huge mobilization of human and technical resources, and more than 300,000 people participated in cleanup activities, which lasted up to 10 months. Some studies reported general acute health problems (Suárez et al., 2005), respiratory symptoms (Zock et al., 2007) and higher frequency of suboptimal scores in mental health (Carrasco et al., 2007) in residents and subjects involved in cleanup operation after Prestige spill, as it had already been extensively observed in previous oil spills (reviewed in Aguilera et al., 2010; Goldstein et al., 2011; Levy and Nassetta, 2011). Increases in different genotoxicity parameters, especially in individuals exposed to the oil for several months, were also observed (Laffon et al., 2006; Pérez-Cadahía et al., 2006, 2008a). "
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    ABSTRACT: In November 2002 the oil tanker Prestige spilled 63,000tonnes of heavy oil off the northwest coast of Spain, impacting more than 1000km of coastline. A general concern led to a huge mobilization of human and technical resources, and more than 300,000 people participated in cleanup activities, which lasted up to 10months. Some endocrine and immunological alterations were reported in Prestige oil exposed subjects for several months. Therefore, the objective of this study was to evaluate if these alterations are still present seven years after the exposure. Fifty-four individuals exposed for at least 2months were compared to 50 matched referents. Prolactin and cortisol plasma concentrations, percentages of lymphocyte subsets (CD3(+), CD4(+), CD8(+), CD19(+), and CD56(+)16(+)), plasma levels of circulating cytokines (interleukin (IL) 2, IL4, IL6, IL10, tumour necrosis factor α, and interferon γ), and serum concentrations of neopterin, tryptophan and kynurenine were determined in peripheral blood samples. Results showed significant differences in exposed individuals vs. referents only in cortisol (increase), kynurenine and %CD16(+)56(+) lymphocytes (both decrease). Time of exposure to the oil or using protective clothes did not influence the results, but effect of using protective mask was observed on neopterin, %CD8(+), CD4(+)/CD8(+) ratio and IL4. Surveillance of the exposed individuals for early detection of possible health problems related to the endocrine or immunological systems is recommended.
    Full-text · Article · Jun 2013 · Environment international
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    • "For instance, the period prevalence of sore eyes in the Niger delta study was 32.86% compared with 28% recorded during the grounding of the tanker braer in Shetland, Scotland35 and 19.7% recorded during the Sea Empress oil spill in south west Wales.36 This difference was attributed to the fact that members of the impacted communities in the Niger delta region, being sustenance farmers and fisher-folks, continued to ply their trade in the polluted environment, without any protective gadgets.37 The prevalence of diarrhoea was also noted to be significantly higher in the Niger delta study because the fish and animals killed by the spill were eaten. "
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    ABSTRACT: The health hazards created by oil exploration and exploitation are covert and slow in action. They are not given the deserved attention in official documents in Nigeria, even as they can be major contributors to the disease burden in oil-bearing communities. This study is an interpretation of the data reported in several published studies on crude oil spills in the Niger delta region, Nigeria. A manual and Internet search was conducted to extract quantitative data on the quantity of crude oil spilled; the concentrations of the pollutants in surface water, ground water, ambient air and plant and animal tissue; and the direct impact on human health and household food security. An average of 240,000 barrels of crude oil are spilled in the Niger delta every year, mainly due to unknown causes (31.85%), third party activity (20.74%), and mechanical failure (17.04%). The spills contaminated the surface water, ground water, ambient air, and crops with hydrocarbons, including known carcinogens like polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon and benxo (a) pyrene, naturally occurring radioactive materials, and trace metals that were further bioaccumulated in some food crops. The oil spills could lead to a 60% reduction in household food security and were capable of reducing the ascorbic acid content of vegetables by as much as 36% and the crude protein content of cassava by 40%. These could result in a 24% increase in the prevalence of childhood malnutrition. Animal studies indicate that contact with Nigerian crude oil could be hemotoxic and hepatotoxic, and could cause infertility and cancer. The oil spills in the Niger delta region have acute and long-term effects on human health. Material relief and immediate and long-term medical care are recommended, irrespective of the cause of the spill, to ensure that the potential health effects of exposures to the spills are properly addressed.
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2013 · Journal of the Nigeria Medical Association
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