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Journal of Occupational & Environmental Medicine:
doi: 10.1097/JOM.0b013e31825107f9
Original Articles

The Effects of Exposure to Documented Open-Air Burn Pits on Respiratory Health Among Deployers of the Millennium Cohort Study

Smith, Besa MPH, PhD; Wong, Charlene A. MPH; Boyko, Edward J. MD, MPH; Phillips, Christopher J. MD, MPH; Gackstetter, Gary D. DVM, MPH, PhD; Ryan, Margaret A.K. MD, MPH; Smith, Tyler C. MS, PhD; for the Millennium Cohort Study Team

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

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Abstract

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.

©2012The American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine

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