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Investigating the Idoho oil spillage into Lagos: Some confounding health factors
Study aim: As part of an ongoing study of the impact of the Mobil Oil spillage from the Idoho terminal, Akwa Ibom, Nigeria on the coastline dwellers of Lagos, another state of the country, we investigated the report of gastrointestinal symptoms and some peculiarities which may influence the outcome of such study.
Methodology: A retrospective study was conducted on 17,240 and 1706 residents from 3 exposed and 3 control communities respectively with the use of questionnaires containing demographic data and symptoms checklist. Visits to health facilities were noted. Further verification of results was by oral interview and medical examination for subjects who reported oil related symptoms in Local government areas that were initially classified as unexposed.
Main result: The number of residents who reported vomiting was statistically greater in the exposed group (odds ratio 21.38, 95% CI:9.85-49,P<0.001).These were 1435 (10%) versus 7 (0.5%) cases respectively. Also, there was a significant report of nausea, and abdominal pain by residents in the exposed group, n = 898, and 734 respectively, this contrasts the unexposed who reported none of these 2 symptoms p= 0.0189. There were 18 respondents who apparently suffered health impacts when they moved from their unpolluted domicile into polluted coastal waters during the incident.
Conclusion: Gastrointestinal symptoms such as vomiting, nausea, and abdominal pain may occur sequel to crude oil spillages. Investigations of health impacts caused by these spillages must consider the socio-economic characteristics of the population as this may reveal a true picture of the event and facilitate proper interpretation of the result.
Keywords: Toxicity, Idoho Oil Spillage, Confounders, Socio economic factors
Nigerian Journal of Health and Biomedical Sciences Vol. 5 (2) 2006: 89-93