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Cluster of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) associated with an oil field waste site: a cross sectional study

Background This is a community comparison study that examines persons living in a subdivision exposed to petroleum products and mercury.

Methods We compared their health status and questionnaire responses to those living in another community with no known exposures of this type.

Results Pristane house dust among the exposed homes was higher than in the comparison communities. The exposed subdivision has higher ambient air mercury levels compared to the control community. The prevalence of rheumatic diseases (OR = 10.78; CI = 4.14, 28.12) and lupus (OR = 19.33; CI = 1.96, 190.72) was greater in the exposed population compared to the unexposed. A higher prevalence of neurological symptoms, respiratory symptoms and several cardiovascular problems including stroke (OR = 15.41; CI = 0.78, 304.68) and angina (OR = 5.72; CI = 1.68, 19.43) was seen.

Conclusion There were statistically significant differences in B cells, Natural Killer Cells, gamma glutamyl transferase, globulin and serum calcium levels between control and exposed subjects.