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Airborne Dioxins, Furans, and Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons Exposure to Military Personnel in Iraq

Masiol, Mauro PhD; Mallon, COL Timothy M. MD, MPH; Haines, Kevin M. Jr BS; Utell, Mark J. MD; Hopke, Philip K. PhD

Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine: August 2016 - Volume 58 - Issue 8 - p S22–S30
doi: 10.1097/JOM.0000000000000771

Objectives: The objective of this study was to use ambient polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH), polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins (PCDD), and polychlorinated dibenzofurans (PCDF) concentrations measured at Joint Base Balad in Iraq in 2007 to identify the sources of these species and their spatial patterns.

Methods: The ratios of the measured species were compared with literature data for likely emission sources. Using the multiple site measurements on specific days, contour maps have been drawn using inverse distance weighting (IDW).

Results: These analyses suggest multiple sources, including the burn pit (primarily a source of PCDD/PCDFs), the transportation field (primarily as source of PAHs), and other sources of PAHs that include aircraft, space heating, and diesel power generation.

Conclusions: The nature and locations of the sources were identified. PCDD/PCDFs were emitted by the burn pit. Multiple PAH sources exist across the base.

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Center for Air Resources Engineering and Science, Clarkson University, Potsdam, New York (Drs Masiol and Hopke); Professor, Department of Preventive Medicine and Biostatistics (Dr Mallon), Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, 4301 Jones Bridge Road, Bethesda, MD 20814; Bioenvironmental Engineering Flight Commander, 30th Medical Group, 338 South Dakota Ave, Vandenberg AFB, CA 93437 (Maj. Haines); Departments of Medicine and Environmental Medicine, University of Rochester Medical Center, New York (Dr Utell).

Address correspondence to: Philip K. Hopke, PhD, Clarkson University, Potsdam, NY 13699 (

This work was supported by The Henry M. Jackson Foundation for the Advancement of Military Medicine, Inc. grant number HT9404-13-1-0030 and the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences Grant # P30-ES01247.

The opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official positions of the Uniformed Services University, the U.S. Departments of Defense, the Army and the Air Force, the 779th Aerospace Medical Squadron, the U.S. Army Public Health Center (Provisional), Emory University, Clarkson University, or the University of Rochester.

There are no conflicts of interest.

Supplemental digital contents are available for this article. Direct URL citation appears in the printed text and is provided in the HTML and PDF versions of this article on the journal's Web site (

Copyright © 2016 by the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine