Graduation Year


Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Marion Preest

Reader 2

Emily Wiley

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Deployed military personnel in Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) and Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) were exposed to various airborne hazards, especially pollutants from open-air burn pits. Given an amassed concern for the public health of military personnel by the American media, there is an emphasis on assessing the associations between OIF deployment and post-deployment health conditions within the respiratory system. This thesis summarizes previous and current trends in evaluating adverse respiratory conditions and burn pits, as well as questions the assessment of data in prior studies. Several factors are involved with the increased risk of respiratory disorders and the severity of that given disorder, such as duration and proximity of exposure to burn pits. This thesis outlines the different approaches used to collect data on the compounds within the smoke inhaled as well as how pulmonary physiology can change with respiratory disorders. It concludes with a proposal for a retrospective cohort study to test the impact of burn pit exposure on post-deployment respiratory conditions. The proposed study is to be done randomly among service members who were stationed between 2004 and 2009 on bases with burn pits in Iraq (the Joint Base Balad and Camp Speicher) and military personnel not exposed to burn pits. Incidence rate ratios (IRRs) and 95% confidence intervals (95% CI) will be projected using a non-deployed reference group. The proposal seeks to more closely evaluate the relation between respiratory health and exposure to burn pits in the possibility that personnel not exposed to burn pits will have lower rates of the respiratory conditions categorized as well as less severity in these given conditions. This connection will help the United States better understand the long-term respiratory conditions that have developed via burn pits and provide better advocacy for those affected in the public health sphere.

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.