Self-reported myocardial infarction and fatal coronary heart disease among oil spill workers and community members 5 years after Deepwater Horizon

Environ Res. 2019 Jan:168:70-79. doi: 10.1016/j.envres.2018.09.026. Epub 2018 Sep 22.


Background: Chemical, physical and psychological stressors due to the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill may impact coronary heart disease (CHD) among exposed populations. Using longitudinal information from two interviews in the Gulf Long Term Follow-up (GuLF) STUDY, we assessed CHD among oil spill workers and community members.

Objective: To assess the associations between duration of oil spill clean-up work, residential proximity to the oil spill, and incidence of self-reported myocardial infarction or fatal CHD.

Methods: Among respondents with two GuLF STUDY interviews (n = 21,256), there were 395 first incident heart disease events (self-reported myocardial infarction or fatal CHD) across 5 years. We estimated hazard ratios (HR) and 95% confidence intervals (95%CI) for associations with duration of oil spill clean-up work and residential proximity to the oil spill. To assess potential impacts of non-response, we compared covariate distributions for those who did (n = 21,256) and did not (n = 10,353) complete the second interview and used inverse probability (IP) of censoring weights to correct for potential non-response bias.

Results: Living in proximity to the oil spill (vs. living further away) was associated with heart disease, with [HR(95%CI) = 1.30(1.01-1.67)] and without [1.29(1.00-1.65)] censoring weights. For work duration, hazard of heart disease appeared to be higher for those who worked > 180 days (vs. 1-30 days), with and without censoring weights [1.43(0.91-2.25) and 1.36(0.88-2.11), respectively]. Associations persisted throughout the 5-year follow-up.

Conclusions: Residential proximity to the spill and duration of clean-up work were associated with a suggested 29-43% higher hazard of heart disease events. Associations were robust to censoring.

Keywords: Coronary disease; Deepwater Horizon; Myocardial infarction; Occupational exposure; Petroleum pollution.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Coronary Disease* / epidemiology
  • Coronary Disease* / mortality
  • Environmental Exposure* / adverse effects
  • Female
  • Gulf of Mexico
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Myocardial Infarction* / epidemiology
  • Petroleum Pollution* / adverse effects
  • Self Report