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Short report
Health outcomes among offspring of US Coast Guard responders to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, 2010–2011


Objective To evaluate the potential for adverse health outcomes among infants born to US Coast Guard (USCG) responders to the Deepwater Horizon (DWH) oil spill disaster.

Methods Department of Defense Birth and Infant Health Research programme data identified a cohort of singleton infants born 2010–2011 to USCG personnel in the DWH Oil Spill Coast Guard Cohort study. Infants were included if their military parent (‘sponsor’) responded to the oil spill during a selected reproductive exposure window (ie, 3 months preconception for male sponsors and periconception through pregnancy for female sponsors), or if their sponsor was a non-responder. χ2 tests and multivariable log-binomial regression were used to compare the demographic and health characteristics of infants born to spill responders and non-responders.

Results Overall, 1974 infants with a male sponsor (n=182 responder, n=1792 non-responder) and 628 infants with a female sponsor (n=35 responder, n=593 non-responder) in the DWH Oil Spill Coast Guard Cohort were identified. Health outcomes were similar among the offspring of male responders and non-responders. The frequency of any poor live birth outcome (ie, low birth weight, preterm birth or birth defect) was higher among infants born to female responders (17.1%, n=6) than non-responders (8.9%, n=53); the maternal age-adjusted association was suggestively elevated (risk ratio 1.93, 95% CI 0.89 to 4.16).

Conclusion Infant health outcomes were comparable between the offspring of male USCG oil spill responders and non-responders. Findings were limited by the small number of infants identified, particularly among female responders, and should be interpreted with caution.

  • Environmental Pollution
  • Military Personnel
  • Pregnancy Outcome

Data availability statement

Data are available upon reasonable request. The datasets generated and/or analyzed during the current study are not publicly available due to security protocols and privacy regulations, but they may be made available on reasonable request by the Naval Health Research Center Institutional Review Board (contact phone +1 619 553 8400).

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