Associating Increased Chemical Exposure to Hurricane Harvey in a Longitudinal Panel Using Silicone Wristbands

2022-05-30

Hurricane Harvey was associated with flood-related damage to chemical plants and oil refineries, and the flooding of hazardous waste sites, including 13 Superfund sites. As clean-up efforts began, concerns were raised regarding the human health impact of possible increased chemical exposure resulting from the hurricane and subsequent flooding. Personal sampling devices in the form of silicone wristbands were deployed to a longitudinal panel of individuals (n = 99) within 45 days of the hurricane and again one year later in the Houston metropolitan area. Using gas chromatography-mass spectroscopy, each wristband was screened for 1500 chemicals and analyzed for 63 polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). Chemical exposure levels found on the wristbands were generally higher post-Hurricane Harvey. In the 1500 screen, 188 chemicals were detected, 29 were detected in at least 30% of the study population, and of those, 79% (n = 23) were found in significantly higher concentrations (p < 0.05) post-Hurricane Harvey. Similarly, in PAH analysis, 51 chemicals were detected, 31 were detected in at least 30% of the study population, and 39% (n = 12) were found at statistically higher concentrations (p < 0.05) post-Hurricane Harvey. This study indicates that there were increased levels of chemical exposure after Hurricane Harvey in the Houston metropolitan area.

Authors: Samantha M Samon, Diana Rohlman, Lane G Tidwell, Peter D Hoffman, Abiodun O Oluyomi, Kim A Anderson
; Full Source: International journal of environmental research and public health 2022 May 30;19(11):6670. doi: 10.3390/ijerph19116670.