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Journal of Occupational & Environmental Medicine:
doi: 10.1097/JOM.0b013e318255ba39
Original Articles

Prospective Assessment of Chronic Multisymptom Illness Reporting Possibly Associated with Open-Air Burn Pit Smoke Exposure in Iraq

Powell, Teresa M. MS; Smith, Tyler C. MS, PhD; Jacobson, Isabel G. MPH; Boyko, Edward J. MD, MPH; Hooper, Tomoko I. MD, MPH; Gackstetter, Gary D. DVM, MPH, PhD; Phillips, Christopher J. MD, MPH; Smith, Besa MPH, PhD; for the Millennium Cohort Study Team

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

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Abstract

Objective: To investigate the relationship between chronic multisymptom illness (CMI) and possible exposure to an open-air burn pit at three selected bases among those deployed to operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Methods: Chronic multisymptom illness (reporting at least one symptom in at least two of the following symptom constructs: general fatigue; mood and cognition problems; and musculoskeletal discomfort) was assessed, differentiating by potential burn pit exposure, among deployers who completed 2004 and 2007 Millennium Cohort questionnaires.

Results: More than 21,000 Cohort participants were deployed in support of the current operations, including more than 3000 participants with at least one deployment within a 3-mile radius of a documented burn pit. After adjusting for covariates, no elevated risk of CMI was observed among those exposed.

Conclusions: There was no increase in CMI symptom reporting in those deployed to three selected bases with documented burn pits compared with other deployers.

©2012The American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine

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