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Postural Sway and Exposure to Jet Propulsion Fuel 8 Among US Air Force Personnel

Maule, Alexis L. MPH; Heaton, Kristin J. PhD; Rodrigues, Ema PhD; Smith, Kristen W. PhD; McClean, Michael D. ScD; Proctor, Susan P. DSc

Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine: April 2013 - Volume 55 - Issue 4 - p 446–453
doi: 10.1097/JOM.0b013e31827db94b
Original Articles

Objective: To determine whether short-term jet propulsion fuel 8 (JP-8) exposure is associated with balance measurements in JP-8–exposed air force personnel.

Methods: As part of a larger neuroepidemiology study, balance tasks were completed by JP-8–exposed individuals (n = 37). Short-term JP-8 exposure was measured using personal breathing zone levels and urinary biomarkers. Multivariate linear regression analyses were conducted to examine the relationship between workday JP-8 exposure and postural sway.

Results: Balance control decreased as the task became more challenging. Workday exposure to JP-8, measured by either personal air or urinary metabolite levels, was not significantly related to postural sway. Increases in workday postural sway were associated with demographic variables, including younger age, being a current smoker, and higher body mass index.

Conclusion: Results suggest that short-term workday JP-8 exposure does not significantly contribute to diminished balance control.

From the Department of Environmental Health (Ms Maule and Drs Heaton and Proctor), Boston University School of Public Health, Boston, Mass; US Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine (Drs Heaton and Proctor), Natick, Mass; Department of Environmental Health (Drs Rodrigues, Smith, and McClean), Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, Mass; and VA Boston Healthcare System (Dr Proctor), Boston, Mass.

Address correspondence to: Susan P. Proctor, DSc, Military Performance Division, US Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine, Kansas St, Bldg 42, Natick, MA 01760 (

During earlier phases of the project (ie, data collection), Drs Smith and Rodrigues were affiliated/employed by the Department of Environmental Health, Boston University School of Public Health, and Ms Maule was affiliated/employed by the Henry M. Jackson Foundation for the Advancement of Military Medicine.

The opinions or assertions contained herein are the private views of the author(s) and are not to be construed as official or as reflecting the views of the Army or the Department of Defense.

©2013The American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine