Dr. Mark A. D'Andrea and colleagues at the University Cancer and Diagnostic Centers in Houston, Texas reported the first comparative study of the effects of the oil dispersant corexit and crude oil on the health of people involved in the clean up of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Sept. 17, 2013, edition of The American Journal of Medicine.
The researchers focused on blood and liver function in 117 people who participated in oil spill clean up and 130 people who lived at a minimum of 100 miles from the Louisiana Gulf Coast. The distance from the coast precluded any potential health effects caused by crude oil and corexit exposure.
The researchers make note of the fact that no data that measured the same parameters as the research studies for each individual prior to their work in the oil clean up effort were sought out or used in the study.
The persons exposed to corexit and crude oil demonstrated blood and liver test results that indicated a possible change in liver and blood enzyme functions in people exposed to crude oil and corexit that may be predictive of cancer and other disease states. The majority of people that participated in the clean up effort also reported more somatic symptoms than previous studies of similar populations.
This study is the first report of blood and liver damage resulting from corexit and crude oil in people who worked in the Deepwater Horizon oil spill clean up effort.