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Detrimental Health Effects of Benzene Exposure in Adults After a Flaring Disaster at the BP Refinery Plant in Texas City

  • Mark A. D’Andrea (a1) and G. Kesava Reddy (a1)



To examine the adverse effects of benzene exposure in adults from a prolonged flaring disaster at the BP refinery in Texas City, Texas.


Adults aged 18 years and older who had been exposed and unexposed to benzene were included. We reviewed medical charts and compared measures of white blood cells (WBCs), platelets, hemoglobin, hematocrit, blood urea nitrogen (BUN), creatinine, alkaline phosphatase (ALP), aspartate amino transferase (AST), and alanine amino transferase (ALT) in exposed and unexposed adults.


Records from 2213 adults (benzene exposed, n=1826; unexposed, n=387) were reviewed. Benzene-exposed subjects had significantly higher WBC counts (7.9±2.3 vs 6.8±1.6×103 per µL, P=0.0000) and platelet counts (270.8±60.9 vs 242.5±53.7×103 per µL, P=0.0000) than did the unexposed subjects. Serum creatinine levels were also significantly higher in the exposed group than in the unexposed group (1.0±0.2 vs 0.8±0.2 mg/dL, P=0.000). Serum levels of ALP were significantly higher in the exposed subjects than in the unexposed subjects (82.1±15.6 vs 71.8±8.2 IU/L, P=0.000). Similarly, benzene-exposed subjects had significantly higher levels of AST (26.2±6.4 vs 19.7±5.3 IU/L, P=0.000) and ALT (30.6±10.8 vs 20.9±9.6 IU/L, P=0.000) than in those unexposed to benzene.


Benzene exposure resulted in significant alterations in hematologic and liver profiles in adults. (Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2016;10:233–239)


Corresponding author

Correspondence and reprint requests to G. Kesava Reddy, PhD, MHA, University Cancer and Diagnostic Centers, 12811 Beamer Road, Houston, TX 77089 (e-mail:


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Disaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness
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