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Birth Outcomes Among Military Personnel After Exposure to Documented Open-Air Burn Pits Before and During Pregnancy

Conlin, Ava Marie S. DO, MPH; DeScisciolo, Connie PhD; Sevick, Carter J. MS; Bukowinski, Anna T. MPH; Phillips, Christopher J. MD, MPH; Smith, Tyler C. MS, PhD

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

Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine: June 2012 - Volume 54 - Issue 6 - p 689–697
doi: 10.1097/JOM.0b013e31824fe154
Original Articles

Objective: To examine birth outcomes in military women and men with potential exposure to documented open-air burn pits before and during pregnancy.

Methods: Electronic data from the Department of Defense Birth and Infant Health Registry and the Defense Manpower Data Center were used to examine the prevalence of birth defects and preterm birth among infants of active-duty women and men who were deployed within a 3-mile radius of a documented open-air burn pit before or during pregnancy.

Results: In general, burn pit exposure at various times in relation to pregnancy and for differing durations was not consistently associated with an increase in birth defects or preterm birth in infants of active-duty military personnel.

Conclusions: These analyses offer reassurance to service members that burn pit exposure is not consistently associated with these select adverse infant health outcomes.

From the Department of Deployment Health Research (Drs Conlin, DeScisciolo, Phillips, and Smith, Mr Sevick, and Ms Bukowinski), Naval Health Research Center, San Diego, Calif; and Department of Community Health (Dr T Smith), School of Health and Human Services, National University, La Jolla, Calif.

Address correspondence to: Ava Marie S. Conlin, DO, MPH, Naval Health Research Center–-Department 164, 140 Sylvester Rd, San Diego, CA 92106 mail to:

This work represents report 11–40, supported by the US Department of Defense, under work unit number 60504.

The content and views expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Department of the Navy, the Department of the Army, the Department of the Air Force, the Department of Defense, the Department of Veterans Affairs, or the US Government. Mention of trade names, commercial products, or organizations does not imply endorsement by the US Government.

This research was conducted in compliance with all applicable federal regulations governing the protection of human subjects in research (protocol NHRC.2007.0002). The authors certify that all individuals who qualify as authors have been listed; each has participated in the conception and design of this work, the analysis of data, the writing of the document, and the approval of the submission of this version; that the document represents valid work; that if we used information derived from another source, we obtained all necessary approvals to use it and made appropriate acknowledgments in the document; and that each takes public responsibility for it. Nothing in the presentation implies any Federal/Department of Defense/Department of the Navy endorsement.

The authors have no financial interest in this work.

©2012The American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine