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Illness Symptoms Experienced by Children Exposed to Benzene After a Flaring Incident

Flaring during workover of a gas well.

Flaring during workover of a gas well.

Flaring is a common practise in up- and downstream oil and gas operations worldwide. This investigation evaluated the illness symptoms experienced by children who were exposed to benzene following a flaring incident at the BP refinery in Texas City, Texas.

Key findings:

  • A total of 641 children, aged <17 years, exposed to benzene were included in the study and reported a total of 1790 illness symptoms.
  • Upper respiratory symptoms were the most (67%) frequently reported, followed by neurological symptoms (57%), diarrhea (25%), and cough (24%).
  • Neurological symptoms (R2 = 0.75), chest pain (R2 = 0.64), joint pain (R2 = 0.57), and vision difficulty (R2 = 0.54) were positively associated with increasing age.
  • Children exposed to benzene experience a range of illness symptoms and an altered profile of urinary phenol indicating their vulnerability to potentially increased health complications.

Bibliography:
D’Andrea MA, Reddy GK
Illness Symptoms Experienced by Children Exposed to Benzene After a Flaring Incident at the BP Refinery Facility in Texas City
Clin Pediatr (Phila). 2016 May 3. pii: 0009922816641463. [Epub ahead of print]
Together, these findings reveal that children exposed to benzene experience a range of illness symptoms and an altered profile of urinary phenol indicating their vulnerability to potentially increased health complications.

See also:

D’Andrea MA, Reddy GK
Detrimental Health Effects of Benzene Exposure in Adults After a Flaring Disaster at the BP Refinery Plant in Texas City.
Disaster Med Public Health Prep. 2016 Apr;10(2):233-9. doi: 10.1017/dmp.2015.160. Epub 2016 Feb 16.
Benzene exposure resulted in significant alterations in hematologic and liver profiles in adults.

D’Andrea MA, Reddy GK
Adverse Health Effects of Benzene Exposure Among Children Following a Flaring Incident at the British Petroleum Refinery in Texas City.
Clin Pediatr (Phila). 2016 Mar;55(3):219-27. doi: 10.1177/0009922815594358. Epub 2015 Aug 11.
The findings of this investigation suggest that children exposed to benzene are at a higher risk of developing both hepatic and bone marrow–related disorders.

D’Andrea MA, Reddy GK.
Hematological and hepatic alterations in nonsmoking residents exposed to benzene following a flaring incident at the British petroleum plant in Texas City.
Environ Health. 2014 Dec 20;14:115. doi: 10.1186/1476-069X-13-115.

D’Andrea MA, Singh O, Reddy GK
Health consequences of involuntary exposure to benzene following a flaring incident at British Petroleum refinery in Texas City.
Am J Disaster Med. 2013 Summer;8(3):169-79. doi: 10.5055/ajdm.2013.0124.
This retrospective pilot study found that environmental benzene exposure from the BP’s flaring incident appears to pose significant health risks including specific alteration of blood cells and liver enzymes, indicating that subjects exposed to benzene may be at a higher risk of developing hepatic or blood related disorders.

Mark A. D’Andrea and G. Kesava Reddy
Health Effects of Benzene Exposure among Children Following a Flaring Incident at the British Petroleum Refinery in Texas City
Pediatric Hematology and Oncology Volume 31, Issue 1, 2014; DOI: 10.3109/08880018.2013.831511
Together, the results of the study reveal that children exposed to benzene experienced significantly altered blood profiles, liver enzymes, and somatic symptoms indicating that children exposed to benzene are at a higher risk of developing hepatic or blood related disorders.

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