The authors investigated acute health problems in people engaged in the operation mounted to clear the Hebei Spirit oil spill which occurred in December 2007 in Taean County, South Korea, and identified the risk factors associated with the development of symptoms. Eight hundred forty-six people engaged in the clean up operation for periods between 7 and 14 days were examined. Demographic information and risk factors were obtained using a questionnaire. Symptoms were classified into six categories: back pain, skin lesions, headache, and eye, neurovestibular, and respiratory symptoms. Residents and volunteers engaged in the Hebei Spirit oil spill clean up operation experienced acute health problems. Risk analyses revealed that more frequent and greater exposure was strongly associated with a higher occurrence of symptoms.
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