A Retrospective Mid- And Long-term Follow-up Study on the Changes in Hematologic Parameters in the Highly Exposed Residents of the Hebei Spirit Oil Spill in Taean, South Korea

Osong Public Health Res Perspect. 2017 Oct;8(5):358-366. doi: 10.24171/j.phrp.2017.8.5.10. Epub 2017 Oct 31.

Abstract

Objectives: This study aimed to analyze changes in hematologic parameters in the residents of the areas highly contaminated by the Hebei Spirit Oil Spill in 2007 and those who participated in the clean-up activities.

Methods: According to demographic characteristics, health status and behavior, and level of exposure to oil, we compared the hematologic results in 2009 and 2012 among 701 residents. The hematologic parameters were composed of white blood cell (WBC) count, and levels of hemoglobin, hematocrit (Hct), aspartate aminotransferase (AST), alanine aminotransferase (ALT), glucose, glycosylated hemoglobin (HbA1c), blood urea nitrogen (BUN), creatinine (Cr), total cholesterol (T-chol), high-density lipoprotein (HDL), and triglyceride (TG).

Results: Paired t-test revealed that the WBC count and levels of Hct, AST, ALT, glucose, and HbA1c significantly increased, whereas the BUN, Cr, HDL, and TG levels significantly decreased. Multiple linear regression modelling showed a relationship between the level of exposure to oil and temporal changes in Hct, glucose, HbA1c, and BUN levels.

Conclusion: Our results suggest a relationship between level of exposure to oil and changes in hematologic parameters over 3 years. Further studies should be conducted to determine the impact of oil spill on health such as the occurrence of diseases.

Keywords: Republic of Korea; environmental exposure; follow-up studies; hematologic tests; petroleum pollution.