Estimating health risks to children associated with recreational play on oil spill-contaminated beaches

Tanu Altomare, Patrick M. Tarwater, Alesia C. Ferguson, Helena M. Solo-Gabriele, Kristina D. Mena

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


The human health impact from exposure to contaminated shorelines following an oil spill event has been investigated to some extent. However, the health risks to children have largely been characterized through the use of surveys and extrapolation from adult health outcomes. There is limited information on children’s behaviors during beach play requiring assumptions made based on observations from play activities in home settings. The Beach Exposure and Child Health Study (BEACHES) quantified specific beach activities that can be used to inform human health risk assessments of children playing on beaches impacted by oil spills. The results of this study characterize children’s risk of cancer from exposure to oil spill chemicals by incorporating exposure-related information collected from the BEACHES study and by assuming oral, dermal, and inhalation exposure routes. Point risk estimates are compared with a previous, similar study that applied default exposure parameter values obtained from the published literature. The point risk estimates informed by BEACHES data are one order of magnitude lower compared with the previous risk assessment, with dermal exposures the overall risk driver in both. Additional Monte Carlo simulations evaluating the BEACHES data provide ranges of health risks with the highest estimates associated with dermal and oral exposure routes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number126
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
JournalInternational journal of environmental research and public health
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2021


  • Children’s health
  • Oil spills
  • Risk assessment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


Dive into the research topics of 'Estimating health risks to children associated with recreational play on oil spill-contaminated beaches'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this