Committee on the Respiratory Health Effects of Airborne Hazards Exposures in the Southwest Asia Theater of Military Operations

Type: Consensus Study
Topics: Environmental Health, Public Health, Military and Veterans Health
Board: Board on Population Health and Public Health Practice

Activity Description

Statement of Task:

 An ad hoc committee under the auspices of the National Academies will comprehensively review, evaluate, and summarize the available scientific and medical literature regarding the respiratory health effects of exposure to airborne hazards encountered during service in the Southwest Asia theater of military operations. The report will pay particular attention to:

• hazards associated with burn pit exposures;

• excess mortality, cancer, bronchial asthma, chronic bronchitis, sinusitis, constrictive bronchiolitis, and other respiratory health outcomes that are of great concern to veterans; and

• emerging evidence on respiratory health outcomes in servicemembers from research such as the Millennium Cohort Study, Study of Active Duty Military for Pulmonary Disease Related to Environmental Deployment Exposure (STAMPEDE), National Health Study for a New Generation of U.S. Veterans, Comparative Health Assessment Interview (CHAI) Study, Pulmonary Health and Deployment to Iraq and Afghanistan Objective Study, Effects of Deployment Exposures on Cardiopulmonary and Autonomic Function Study, and research being conducted by the VA War Related Illness and Injury Study Center (WRIISC) Airborne Hazards Center of Excellence (AHCE) in New Jersey.

It will evaluate the extent to which existing knowledge base informs the understanding of the potential adverse effects of in-theater military service on respiratory health, identify gaps, research that could feasibly be conducted to address outstanding questions and generate answers, newly-emerging technologies that could aid in these efforts, and organizations that VA might partner with to accomplish this work. The committee shall produce a final report detailing the conduct of these activities and offering any findings, conclusions, and recommendations it deems appropriate.

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