Objectives : To assess the protective effects of wearing protective devices among the residents and volunteers who participated in the cleanup of the Hebei Spirit oil spill. Methods : A total of 288 residents and 724 volunteers were surveyed about symptoms, whether they were wearing protective devices and potential confounding variables. The questionnaires were administered from the second to the sixth week following the accident. Spot urine samples were collected and analyzed for metabolites of 4 volatile organic compounds (VOCs), 2 polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), and 6 heavy metals. The association between the wearing of protective devices and various symptoms was assessed using a multiple logistic regression adjusted for confounding variables. A multiple generalized linear regression model adjusted for the covariates was used to test for a difference in least-square mean concentration of urinary biomarkers between residents who wore protective devices and those who did not. Results : Thirty nine to 98% of the residents and 62-98% of volunteers wore protective devices. Levels of fatigue and fever were higher among residents not wearing masks than among those who did wear masks (odds ratio 4.5; 95% confidence interval 1.23-19.86). Urinary mercury levels were found to be significantly higher among residents not wearing work clothes or boots (p<0.05). Conclusions : Because the survey was not performed during the initial high-exposure period, no significant difference was found in metabolite levels between people who wore protective devices and those who did not, except for mercury, whose biological half-life is more than 6 weeks.
- Crude oil
- Protective devices