VA asked the Institute of Medicine (IOM) of the National Academy of Sciences, a non-governmental organization, to examine available scientific and medical evidence on health issues and exposure to burn pits in Iraq and Afghanistan.
IOM’s October 31, 2011 report, Long-Term Health Consequences of Exposure to Burn Pits in Iraq and Afghanistan, found limited but suggestive evidence of a link between exposure to combustion products and reduced lung function in various groups thought to be similar to deployed Servicemembers, such as firefighters and incinerator workers.
This IOM finding focused on pulmonary (lung) function, not respiratory disease, and noted that further studies are required. There is little current scientific evidence on long-term health consequences of reduced lung function.
The report found inadequate or insufficient evidence of a relation between exposure to combustion products and cancer, respiratory diseases, circulatory diseases, neurological diseases, and adverse reproductive and developmental outcomes.
In preparing its report, IOM used a wide range of information, including raw air-sampling data collected by the Department of Defense in 2007 and 2009, National Research Council reports, and studies by the Environmental Protection Agency and Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry.
You also may conduct an extensive search on health effects of burn pits through the U.S. National Institutes of Health’s PubMed.