Objective: Participants who worked on the 2010 Deepwater Horizon Gulf oil spill cleanup operations are at risk of compromising their health. This study assessed the adverse health effects of the Gulf oil spill exposure in subjects involved in the cleanup operations.
Methods: We reviewed medical charts and compared measures of white blood cells (WBC), platelets, hemoglobin, hematocrit, blood urea nitrogen (BUN), creatinine, alkaline phosphatase (ALP), aspartate amino transferase (AST), and alanine amino transferase (ALT) in oil spill exposed and unexposed subjects.
Results: Medical records from 478 subjects (oil spill cleanup workers, n=239 and unexposed, n=239) were reviewed. Oil spill cleanup workers had a significantly increased mean WBC count, hemoglobin, hematocrit, and serum creatinine compared with the unexposed subjects (P=0.000). In contrast, the mean platelet counts and BUN levels were significantly reduced in oil spill cleanup workers compared with the unexposed subjects (P=0.000). Hepatic enzymes such as ALP, AST and ALT were significantly elevated in oil spill cleanup workers compared with those of the unexposed subjects (P=0.000).
Conclusion: Oil spill exposure resulted in significant alterations in hematological and hepatic functions among the workers involved in oil spill cleanup operations.