The American Thoracic Society (ATS) has released a statement on the Institute of Medicine’s (IOM) recent report on the long-term health consequences for military personnel of exposure to burn pits in Iraq and Afghanistan. In its report, the IOM was unable to reach a definitive conclusion that burn pits are the cause of increased respiratory and other diseases seen in this population and called for a prospective study on the long-term health effects of exposure to burn-pit emissions.

In response, Nicholas S. Hill, MD, president of ATS, is urging the US government to begin such a study to help determine what effects “burn pits, diesel fuel combustion, or ambient air pollution, including desert dust—or a combination of these and other factors—have contributed to the lung problems of Afghanistan and Iraqi veterans.”

“Such a study,” adds Hill, “will also help physicians and other scientists determine if burn pits contributed to chronic diseases experienced by armed service personnel after being exposed to the burn pits.”

Source: American Thoracic Society