A review of the potential adverse health effects of military burn pits

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Title: A review of the potential adverse health effects of military burn pits
Author: Marokhovsky, Shelby
Abstract: MAROKHOVSKY, SHELBY ANNE MILLER. A Review of the Potential Adverse Health Effects of Military Burn Pits. (Under the direction of Dr. Catherine LePrevost and Dr. Waverly Kallestad.) Burn pits, areas of open burning utilized for waste disposal, have been operated by the United States military for several decades as a temporary means of eliminating solid waste generated at bases overseas until more permanent solutions are installed. The potential adverse environmental impacts of burn pits and the occupational health effects for military personnel living and working on bases that operate burn pits are not fully understood. The purpose of this literature review was to summarize the current knowledge of burn pit exposures and adverse health effects and identify relevant data gaps from existing studies. Limited studies have been conducted to assess the impacts of burn pits on soldiers, and these studies have not produced conclusive or reproducible results. The studies have also identified problems with data collection on military bases and generalizability of results such as the difficulty of managing environmental data collection during a military operation and the varying environmental conditions in different countries that have military bases. Unknowns, such as the specific composition of the materials within the burn pits and the byproducts from the combustion of a variety of different source materials, have also been identified as limitations of the studies. The potential resulting health impacts of burn pit exposure, therefore, remain unclear, and additional research is necessary to gain a more comprehensive understanding of the short-term and long-term health effects among soldiers, as well as ambient background environmental conditions and burn pit emissions.
Date: 2017-05
URI: http://www.lib.ncsu.edu/resolver/1840.20/34302


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