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Health risk evaluation in a population exposed to chemical releases from a petrochemical complex in Thailand

Kampeerawipakorn, Ormrat, Navasumrit, Panida, Settachan, Daam, Promvijit, Jeerawan, Hunsonti, Potchanee, Parnlob, Varabhorn, Nakngam, Netnapa, Choonvisase, Suppachai, Chotikapukana, Passaornrawan, Chanchaeamsai, Samroeng, Ruchirawat, Mathuros
Environmental Research 2017 v.152 pp. 207-213
DNA damage, DNA repair, at-risk population, benzene, biomarkers, carcinogens, developing countries, emissions, human population, industry, inflammation, interleukin-8, metabolites, neoplasms, pollutants, respiratory tract diseases, risk, risk assessment, toxicity, Thailand
Emissions from petrochemical industries may contain toxic and carcinogenic compounds that can pose health risk to human populations. The scenario may be worse in developing countries where management of such exposure-health problems is typically not well-implemented and the public may not be well-informed about such health risk. In Thailand, increasing incidences of respiratory diseases and cancers have been reported for the population around a major petrochemical complex, the Map Ta Phut Industrial Estate (MTPIE). This study aimed to systematically investigate an exposure-health risk among these populations. One-hundred and twelve healthy residents living nearby MTPIE and 50 controls located approximately 40km from MTPIE were recruited. Both external and internal exposure doses to benzene and 1,3-butadiene, known to be associated with the types of cancer that are of concern, were measured because they represent exposure to industrial and/or traffic-related emissions. Health risk was assessed using the biomarkers of early biological effects for cancer and inflammatory responses, as well as biomarkers of exposure for benzene and 1,3-butadiene. The exposure levels of benzene and 1,3-butadiene were similar for both the exposed and control groups. This was confirmed by a non-significant difference in the levels of specific urinary metabolites for benzene (trans,trans-muconic acid, t,t-MA) and 1,3-butadiene (monohydroxy-butyl mercapturic acid, MHBMA). Levels of 8-hydroxydeoxyguanosine (8-OHdG) and DNA strand breaks between the two groups were not statistically significantly different. However, functional biomarkers, interleukin-8 (IL-8) expression was significantly higher (p<0.01) and DNA repair capacity was lower (p<0.05) in the exposed residents compared to the control subjects. This suggests that the exposed residents may have a higher risk for development of diseases such as cancer compared to controls. However, the increased expression of IL-8 and lower DNA repair capacity were not associated with recent and excessive exposure to benzene and 1,3-butadiene, which were at the similar levels as those in the controls. The data would indicate that previous exposure to the two chemicals together with exposure to other toxic chemicals from the MTPIE may be responsible for the elevated functional biomarkers and health risk. Further studies are required to determine which other pollutants from the industrial complex could be causing these functional abnormalities.