Objective: To assess the relationship between possible exposure to smoke from documented open-air burn pits and newly reported lupus and rheumatoid arthritis among Millennium Cohort participants who have deployed in support of operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Methods: Prospectively assessed self-reported lupus and rheumatoid arthritis among deployers who completed both 2004–2006 and 2007–2008 questionnaires.
Results: After exclusions, more than 18,000 participants were deployed, including more than 3000 participants deployed within a 3-mile radius of a documented burn pit. After adjustment, proximity within 3 miles of a burn pit was not significantly associated with rheumatoid arthritis or lupus in general; however, one location was associated with lupus, although few cases were at this site (n = 2).
Conclusions: Results indicate deployers potentially exposed to documented burn pits in the combined three-camp analysis were not at an elevated risk of lupus or rheumatoid arthritis.