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Burden of disease attributable to the Hebei Spirit oil spill in Taean, Korea
  1. Young-Min Kim1,
  2. Jae-Hyun Park2,
  3. Kyusik Choi2,
  4. Su Ryeon Noh3,
  5. Young-Hyun Choi3,
  6. Hae-Kwan Cheong2
  1. 1Department of Environmental Health, Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia, USA
  2. 2Department of Social and Preventive Medicine, Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine, Suwon, Gyeonggi, Republic of Korea
  3. 3Taean Environmental Health Center, Taean, Chungnam, Republic of Korea
  1. Correspondence to Professor Hae-Kwan Cheong; hkcheong{at}


Objectives We aimed to assess the burden of disease (BOD) of the residents living in contaminated coastal area with oil spill and also analysed the BOD attributable to the oil spill by disease, age, sex and subregion.

Design Health impact assessment by measuring years lived with disability (YLD) due to an oil spill.

Setting A whole population of a community affected by an anthropogenic environmental disaster and secondary health outcome data.

Participants Based on the health outcome survey including 10 171 individuals (male 4354; female 5817), BOD of 66 473 populations (male 33 441; female 33 032) was measured.

Interventions None. Observational study on the effect of a specific environmental health hazard.

Primary and secondary outcome measures Using disability adjusted life year (DALY) method, BOD including physical and mental diseases was measured. For the BOD measurement, excess incidences of illnesses related to oil spill were estimated from the comparison of prevalence of the health outcomes between contaminated areas and reference area without contamination.

Results YLD attributable to the oil spill were estimated to be 14 724 DALYs (male 7425 DALYs; female 7299 DALYs) for the year 2008. The YLD of mental diseases including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression for men were higher than that for women. The YLD for women was higher in asthma and allergies (rhinitis, dermatitis, conjunctivitis) than that for men. The effects of asthma and allergies were the greatest for people in their 40s, with the burden of mental illness being the greatest for those in their 20s. Proximity to the spill site was associated with increased BOD.

Conclusions An oil spill near a coastline can cause substantial adverse health effects. As the health effects of hazardous pollutants from oil spills are long-lasting, close follow-up studies are required to identify chronic health effects.


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