Burn Pit and Dust Exposure: Greater Risk of Respiratory Diseases
According to a recent report, troops who worked in burn pits and who were exposed to multiple dust storms during service in Iraq and Afghanistan have an increased risk for developing respiratory conditions other than allergies.
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According to the data collected from the Veterans Affairs Airborne Hazards and Open Burn Pit Registry, military men and women frequently exposed to dust and burn pits may have a higher likelihood of developing respiratory illnesses like emphysema and asthma as well as rarer lung disorders like constrictive bronchitis and idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis.
The Burn Pit Registry was created in April 2014 to monitor potential health problems that can develop from exposure to airborne environmental hazards. As of December 31, 2014, almost 46,000 veterans had created accounts with the registry.
About 60 percent also completed the voluntary online self-assessment questionnaire as part of the registration that provides insight into their current health status and past exposures.
The recent findings reported by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) were based on questionnaires answered by more than 28,000 veterans. Below are some of the key findings from an analysis of the report:
- 30 percent of veterans were diagnosed with some form of respiratory condition emphysema, chronic bronchitis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease topped the list of conditions.
- One third reported a diagnosis of high blood pressure.
- 365 veterans listed that they had been diagnosed with constrictive bronchitis or idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, which are rare and serious conditions that can lead to death.
While this report may provide important insight into the types of conditions that may affect younger generations of troops, many caution that report does not show a direct correlation between burn pits and these diseases more research and data is necessary.
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