Objective: To investigate respiratory illnesses and potential open-air burn pit exposure among Millennium Cohort participants who deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan.
Methods: Using multivariable logistic regression, newly reported chronic bronchitis or emphysema, newly reported asthma, and self-reported respiratory symptoms and possible burn pit exposure within 2, 3, or 5 miles were examined among Army and Air Force deployers surveyed in 2004 to 2006 and 2007 to 2008 (n = 22,844).
Results: Burn pit exposure within 3 or 5 miles was not associated with respiratory outcomes after statistical adjustment. Increased symptom reporting was observed among Air Force deployers located within 2 miles of Joint Base Balad; however, this finding was marginally significant with no evidence of trend.
Conclusion: In general, these findings do not support an elevated risk for respiratory outcomes among personnel deployed within proximity of documented burn pits in Iraq.