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J Occup Environ Med. 2012 Jun;54(6):698-707. doi: 10.1097/JOM.0b013e3182529799.

Newly reported lupus and rheumatoid arthritis in relation to deployment within proximity to a documented open-air burn pit in Iraq.

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Department of Deployment Health Research, Naval Health Research Center, 140 Sylvester Road, San Diego, CA 92106, USA.



To assess the relationship between possible exposure to smoke from documented open-air burn pits and newly reported lupus and rheumatoid arthritis among Millennium Cohort participants who have deployed in support of operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.


Prospectively assessed self-reported lupus and rheumatoid arthritis among deployers who completed both 2004-2006 and 2007-2008 questionnaires.


After exclusions, more than 18,000 participants were deployed, including more than 3000 participants deployed within a 3-mile radius of a documented burn pit. After adjustment, proximity within 3 miles of a burn pit was not significantly associated with rheumatoid arthritis or lupus in general; however, one location was associated with lupus, although few cases were at this site (n = 2).


Results indicate deployers potentially exposed to documented burn pits in the combined three-camp analysis were not at an elevated risk of lupus or rheumatoid arthritis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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