Exposures to the Kuwait oil fires and their association with asthma and bronchitis among gulf war veterans

Jeffrey L. Lange, David A. Schwartz, Bradley N. Doebbeling, Jack M. Heller, Peter S. Thorne

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

50 Scopus citations

Abstract

Military personnel deployed to the Persian Gulf War have reported a variety of symptoms attributed to their exposures. We examined relationships between symptoms of respiratory illness present 5 years after the war and both self-reported and modeled exposures to oil-fire smoke that occurred deployment. Exposure and symptom information was obtained by structured telephone interview in a population-based sample of 1,560 veterans who served in the Gulf War. Modeled exposures were exhaustively developed using a geographic information system to integrate spatial and temporal records of smoke concentrations with troop movements ascertained from global positioning systems records. For the oil-fire period, there were 600,000 modeled data points with colar absorbance used to represent smoke concentrations to a 15-km resolution. Outcomes included respiratory symptoms (asthma, bronchitis) and control outcomes (major depression, injury). Approximately 94% of the study cohort were still in the gulf theater during the time of the oil-well fires, and 21% remained there more than 100 days during the fires. There was modest correlation between self-reported and modeled exposures (r = 0.48, p < 0.05). Odds ratios dor asthma, bronchitis, and major depression increased with increasing self-reported exposure. In contrast, there was no association between the modeled exposure and any of the outcomes. These findings do not support speculation that exposures to oil-fire smoke caused respiratory symptoms among veterans.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1141-1146
Number of pages6
JournalEnvironmental health perspectives
Volume110
Issue number11
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1 2002

Keywords

  • Air pollution
  • Asthma
  • Chronic bronchitis
  • Exposure modeling
  • Geographical information system
  • Oil-well-fires
  • Persian Gulf War

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

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