Kaitlyn Lawrence

Kaitlyn Lawrence


End Date



Event Description

Title: Occupational exposures and respiratory health following a large-scale oil spill. 

The 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster was the largest maritime oil spill in US History. Tens of thousands of oil spill response and cleanup workers were involved in mitigation efforts following the spill and were exposed to hazardous inhalants including components of crude oil as well as combustion by-products such as PM2.5 from burning crude oil/gas. The primary objective of this work is to describe the relationship between oil spill chemical exposures and respiratory health endpoints up to 3 years after the spill. The GuLF Study is a large prospective cohort of oil spill cleanup workers and nonworkers (N=32,608) enrolled following the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. Upon study entry, all participants completed a questionnaire on work histories, health, demographics, and lifestyle. A subgroup of English- and Spanish- speaking participants living in one of five Gulf States completed a home visit exam (N=11,193) which included an additional questionnaire and the collection of anthropometric measures including pulmonary function.

In this talk, I will discuss the assessment of the associations between airborne oil spill exposures with pulmonary function measures and questionnaire-based asthma incidence. Oil spill chemical exposure metrics were derived by industrial hygienists linking information from detailed work histories and air monitoring data from passive samplers via a job exposure matrix. Oil spill exposure metrics analyzed include hierarchical job classes ranked by total hydrocarbon exposures, ordinal total hydrocarbon categories, and cumulative quantitative exposure metrics of total hydrocarbons and individual BTEX-h chemicals. I will also discuss more recent work incorporating improved estimates of PM2.5, and the use of mixture models to account for correlated exposures among BTEX-h chemicals

About the Speaker: Kaitlyn Lawrence, Epidemiology Branch at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences

Dr. Kaitlyn Lawrence received her Ph.D. in environmental health sciences from Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine in 2018 and trained at NIEHS as a pre- and post-doctoral Intramural Research Training Award Fellow between 2018-2022. Dr. Lawrence’s current research is aimed at assessing the interplay among climate, environmental contaminants, social factors, and genomics and how they relate to respiratory and other chronic disease endpoints. Her work has received numerous awards, including an NIH Fellow Award for Research Excellence and the Matilda White Riley Early-Stage Investigator Award. Dr. Lawrence is currently the Staff Scientist for the Gulf Long-Term Follow-up Study in the Epidemiology Branch at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.


A recording of this presentation is available.


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