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Hebei Spirit oil spill and its long-term effect on children's asthma symptoms

Noh, Su Ryeon, Kim, Jung-Ah, Cheong, Hae-Kwan, Ha, Mina, Jee, Young-Koo, Park, Myung-Sook, Choi, Kyung-Hwa, Kim, Ho, Cho, Sung-Il, Choi, Kyungho, Paek, Domyung
Environmental pollution 2019 v.248 pp. 286-294
BTEX (benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, xylene), accidents, asthma, benzene, children, confidence interval, ethylbenzene, long term effects, middle school students, odds ratio, oil spills, petroleum, questionnaires, residential areas, toluene, xylene, China
On December 7th, 2007, an estimated 12,547 kL of crude oil was spilled from the collision of Hebei Spirit near residential area. Our previous study demonstrated worsening of children's asthma symptoms one year after the accident. This study investigated long-term effect of the oil spill on children's asthma symptoms up to five years after the accident. All elementary and middle school students in the exposure area were surveyed on one year (n = 655), three years (664), and five years (611) after the accident. Oil spill exposure was estimated using two estimates including distance from the oil spill (A) and modeled estimates of benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, and xylene (BTEX) compounds (B), and each was dichotomously categorized (A: high-exposure vs low-exposure; B: ≥20 mg/m3 vs < 20 mg/m3). Asthma symptoms were evaluated using a standard questionnaire. Oil spill exposure estimates were associated with asthma symptoms on one year (odds ratio (95% confidence interval) A: 1.9 (1.1–3.1); B: 1.6 (0.9–2.7)), three years (A: 1.9 (1.1–3.2); B: 1.3 (0.8–2.2)), and five years (A: 1.2 (0.7–1.9); B: 1.8 (1.1–2.8)) after the oil spill. Significant longitudinal relationship between oil spill exposure estimates and asthma symptoms was also observed (A: 1.6 (1.2–2.2); B: 1.6 (1.1–2.1)). Overall, the effect of oil spill exposure estimates was more severe on younger children. Oil spill exposure estimates were associated with asthma symptoms in children up to five years after the oil spill.