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Journal of Occupational & Environmental Medicine:
doi: 10.1097/JOM.0b013e318255ba1b
Original Articles

Environmental Exposure and Health of Operation Enduring Freedom/Operation Iraqi Freedom Veterans

McAndrew, Lisa M. PhD; Teichman, Ron F. MD, MPH; Osinubi, Omowunmi Y. MD, MSc, MBA, FRCA, ABIHM; Jasien, Jessica V. MEn; Quigley, Karen S. PhD

Section Editor(s): Teichman, Ron MD, MPH; Guest Editor

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Abstract

Objective: We characterized the prevalence of self-reported environmental exposures, concerns about exposures, and their relationships with somatic symptoms in Operation Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan) (OEF) and Operation Iraqi Freedom (Iraq) (OIF) veterans seeking treatment at a specialty Veterans Affairs (VA) clinic. Concerns about environmental exposures were expected to lead to more reporting of somatic symptom burden.

Methods: We conducted a chart review of 469 OEF/OIF veterans seen at a VA tertiary care clinic.

Results: OEF/OIF veterans reported a high level of environmental exposures and concerns about environmental exposures. Greater reported environmental exposures (β = 0.13) and environmental exposure concerns (β = 0.39) were associated with a greater somatic symptom burden. Exposure concerns accounted for some of the relationship of exposures on somatic symptom burden (confidence interval, 0.33–0.60).

Conclusions: OEF/OIF veterans seeking treatment at a VA clinic reported a high prevalence of environmental exposures and exposure concerns. Both negatively impacted health outcomes.

©2012The American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine

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