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Burn Pits: The "Agent Orange" of the Iraq War

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Seasonal winds are key climatic factors and have dust-creating potential, during these storms, toxins and particulate matter are picked up and caught in the hazy-yellow orange color hovering cloud that can be upwards of 4,000-feet in height and take hours, possibly days to pass.



During the 1-year ambient sampling from Iraq, all samples from the six military bases surpassed both particulate matter size(s) 10 and 2.5 annually and within 24-hours according to the World Health Organization (WHO) safety exposure guidelines.

Findings included zinc/lead particles, possibly from the smeltering of lead and batteries. Carbon chains were found to contain high concentrations of lead, bromine and chlorine which is associated with burning of fuel and emissions from leaded gasoline.

These inhaled chemicals cause inflammation, extrinsic narrowing of the luminal wall caused by epithelial fibrosis, smooth-muscle hypertrophy and enlargement in the bronchioles.

A short latency period can be seen with veterans who have been exposed and have undiagnosed constrictive bronchiolitis because often signs and symptoms direct the cause to be asthma-related therefore treatments mask the actual disease.

"Constrictive bronchiolitis" is rarely seen in young, healthy, athletic adults and in previous cases, often yields normal results in HRCT, PFT and CPET imaging and has been diagnosed exclusively by way of thoracoscopic lung biopsies.

Dr. Miller states “it is known to result from toxic inhalation, with sulfur dioxide (SO2) being one of the most notable exposures linked to the disease” (Miller, 2013, p. 4) in addition to nitrogen oxide, inorganic dust, fly ash and diacetyl used in flavoring butter (King et al., 2011).

A disturbance in the balance between the production of "reactive oxygen species" (free radicals" and antioxidant defenses related to the possible role in tissue and cellular necrosis from exposures.

A continuing list of Inhalant exposures while at War.

Many are military-specific, listing what the chemical is, where it is found and what it can cause (physiologically).

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