The objective of this study was to assess the adverse health symptoms experienced by adult subjects who were exposed to benzene after a flaring disaster at the BP refinery in Texas City, Texas.
A total of 2162 adults aged 18 years or older and exposed to benzene were included. Using the patients’ medical charts, we collected and analyzed data on health complaints as well as the patients’ serum levels of beta-2-micro globulin and urinary excretion of phenol.
A total of 11,368 health symptom complaints were reported in 2162 adults exposed to benzene.Neurological symptoms occurred most frequently (174%), followed upper respiratory symptoms(115%), cough (31%), painful joints (30%), cardiac symptoms (28%), dermatological symptoms(28%), gastrointestinal symptoms (27%), diarrhea (25%), vision symptoms (21%), and nausea/vomiting (19%). Logistic regression analysis indicated that urinary symptoms (R2=0.65) and painful joints (R2=0.44) were positively associated with increasing age in benzene-exposed subjects.
Adult subjects exposed to benzene experience a range of adverse health symptoms and an altered profile of urinary phenol, thus indicating they are at high risk of developing serious future health complications.