Post-Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Exposure Patterns Among Children in Mobile County, Alabama

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Abstract

Objective:

The aim of this study was to characterize environmental exposure from Deepwater Horizon oil spill among pre-K to fourth-grade children from six schools in Mobile County, Alabama.

Methods:

A mail-in survey administered 11 months post-oil spill to children's parents/caregivers elicited information on exposure-related activities. Descriptive and multivariable analyses were performed.

Results:

Overall, 180 children (coastal schools, 90; inland schools, 90) completed the survey. During the post-oil spill period, children in coastal schools were less likely to reduce their exposure-related activities, including fishing; eating and selling caught fish; visiting beaches; and parental participation in cleanup activities, than children in inland schools. Particularly, fishing and eating caught fish were significantly associated with the coastal group (odds ratio = 2.28; 95% confidence interval = 1.54 to 3.36).

Conclusion:

Proximity to the shoreline may serve as an indicator for potential exposure in oil spills among vulnerable populations including children.

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