ACS: U.S. Troops Exposed to Fine Particulate Matter

Exposure may pose immediate and long-term health risks in troops stationed in Iraq

THURSDAY, March 31 (HealthDay News) -- Military personnel stationed in Iraq may be at immediate and long-term risk of adverse events associated with exposure to air polluted with fine particulate matter, according to research presented at the American Chemical Society's Spring 2011 National Meeting & Exposition, held from March 27 to 31 in Anaheim, Calif.

In an ongoing study initiated in February 2008, Jennifer M. Bell, of the University of Alaska in Fairbanks, and colleagues aimed to determine the concentrations and compositions of fine particulate matter and quantify the fine particulate matter exposures for soldiers currently deployed in Baghdad.

The investigators found that fine particulate matter concentrations commonly exceeded military exposure guidelines and that individual constituents, such as lead, exceeded U.S. ambient air quality standards. Chronic exposure to fine particulate matter has been associated with increased hospital admissions, premature death among individuals with heart and lung disease, an increased incidence of cardiovascular disease, and chronic respiratory diseases in children. However, the researchers note that most U.S. military personnel are in good health and unlikely to experience immediate health effects, but some have developed chronic coughs.

"We are especially concerned about fine airborne particles that originate from motor vehicles, factories, open burning of trash in pits, and other sources," Bell said in a statement.

Abstract No. 196
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