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Ju Hyung Lee 1 Article
Acute Health Effects Among Military Personnel Participating in the Cleanup of the Hebei Spirit Oil Spill, 2007, in Taean County, Korea
Jin Gwack, Ju Hyung Lee, Young Ah Kang, Kyu-jin Chang, Moo Sik Lee, Jee Young Hong
Osong Public Health Res Perspect. 2012;3(4):206-212.   Published online December 31, 2012
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AbstractAbstract PDF
This study was conducted to investigate acute health effects and its related factors among military personnel participating in the cleanup of the 2007 Hebei Spirit oil spill accident in Taean county, Korea.
We collected data on acute symptoms during the cleanup and their predictors using a self-administered questionnaire to 2624 military personnel. Selfreported symptoms included six neurologic symptoms, five respiratory symptoms, two dermatologic symptoms, three ophthalmic symptoms, and three general symptoms. Independent variables were demographic factors (gender, age, education level, and rank), health behavioral factors (smoking history and usage of the personal protective equipment such as masks and gloves), and occupational history such as where and for how long individuals participated in cleanup.
The duration of work days was significantly associated with 17 acute symptoms except for itchiness and red skin.Working in Taean county also increased the risk of most acute symptoms except headache and back pain. In regard to personal protective equipment, wearing masks was mainly related to the development of respiratory symptoms such as sore throat and wearing other protective equipment was related to the development of sore throat, back pain, headache, and cough. Military personnel younger than 25 years reported 4.66 times more hot flushing and 5.39 times more itchiness than those older than 25 years.
It should be emphasized that for early-stage cleanup the number of workers should be minimized, sufficient personal protective equipment with approved quality for blocking noxious gas should be supplied, and systematic health care for the workers should be provided. Health effects could be diminished by providing adequate education regarding the appropriate use of protective equipment, especially to nonprofessionals such as residents and volunteers. To make disaster response expeditious, a national and regional preparedness plans and a professional response team for emergency environmental assessment and emergency action should be established beforehand to make prompt decisions.


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