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Post: Elevated health risks from burn pits could affect millions of veterans, latest study finds

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Elevated health risks from burn pits could affect millions of veterans, latest study finds
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The burn pit at Balad Air Base, Iraq, in 2008. Long deployments to military bases with open-air burn pits put veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan at higher risk for certain respiratory ailments, according to new research that used recently declassified deployment data. (Stars and Stripes) Prolonged deployments to bases with burn pits put veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan at slightly higher risk for certain respiratory ailments, according to new research that used recently declassified deployment data.

The study, published Thursday by JAMA Network Open looked at the records of 459,381 military veterans receiving health care from the Veterans Administration to determine the health effects of exposure to burn pits.

Longer deployment to military bases with open burn pits was associated with small increases in risk of asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and hypertension, said the report, authored by a collection of researchers from numerous universities.

The study “is an important milestone in conducting research on health outcomes associated with exposures occurring during military service,” the researchers said.

While the associations were modest in magnitude, several million veterans could be affected by the findings, the report said.

For years, many in the military community have believed that burn pits, which were commonplace at scores of combat outposts in Iraq and Afghanistan, put the health of troops in danger.

But for a long time, Defense Department and Department of Veterans Affairs officials denied any connection between illness and burn pits.The situation remained a hot button issue in Washington, where for years […]

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