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Study Methodology Prevents Interpretation of Findings in Workers Involved in Gulf Oil Spill Cleanup Activities

      We read with interest a recent report by D'Andrea and Reddy
      • D'Andrea M.A.
      • Reddy G.K.
      Health consequence among subjects involved in Gulf oil spill clean-up activities.
      describing differences in hematologic and hepatic blood profiles among a cohort of workers involved in Gulf oil spill cleanup activities relative to an unexposed cohort. They report that cleanup workers had lower average levels of platelets, blood urea nitrogen, and creatinine, and higher levels of hemoglobin, hematocrit, alkaline phosphatase, aspartate aminotransferase, and alanine aminotransferase. The authors also postulate that “the oil spill exposure appears to play a role in the development of hematologic and hepatic toxicity.” The relation of these findings to exposures associated with cleanup activities cannot be interpreted given the current study design, lack of exposure history, and laboratory analysis.
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      Linked Article

      • Health Consequences among Subjects Involved in Gulf Oil Spill Clean-up Activities
        The American Journal of MedicineVol. 126Issue 11
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          Oil spills are known to affect human health through the exposure of inherent hazardous chemicals such as para-phenols and volatile benzene. This study assessed the adverse health effects of the Gulf oil spill exposure in subjects participating in the clean-up activity along the coast of Louisiana.
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      • The Reply
        The American Journal of MedicineVol. 127Issue 9
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          We appreciate Piacentino et al for their interest in our recent article about the health consequences among subjects involved in Gulf oil spill cleanup activities published in The American Journal of Medicine.1 We strongly disagree with their opinion about the findings of our published study. This is a retrospective analysis, which is not based on epidemiological analysis, as Piacentino et al have attempted to argue, using several uncontrollable compounding factors. Unlike prospective clinical studies, retrospective studies are limited to the existing data that have been recorded for reasons other than research.
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