BURNPITS 360° - Chemical Health Effects
Toxic Chemical Exposure Resource Directory
VA Regional Training Letter
DoD has performed air sampling at Joint Base Balad, Iraq and Camp Lemonier, Djibouti.  Most of the air samples have not shown individual chemicals that exceed military exposure guidelines.  The air sampling performed at Balad and discussed in an unclassified 2008 assessment tested and detected all of the following:  (1) Particulate matter; (2) Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons; (3) Volatile Organic Compounds; and (4) Toxic Organic Halogenated Dioxins and Furans (dioxins).  Each of the foregoing is discussed below with the exception of particulate matter, which will be discussed later in this letter.
Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons.  Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) are a group of over 100 different chemicals that are formed during the incomplete burning of coal, oil and gas, garbage, or other organic substances.[1]  Some of the PAHs that were tested for and detected are listed below.  These results are from DoD testing at Balad from January through April 2007.[2]
Acenaphthene                                                         Acenaphthylene
Anthracene                                                             Benzo(a)anthracene
Benzo(a)pyrene                                                       Benzo(b)fluoroanthene
Benzo(b)fluoroanthene                                            Benzo(g,h,i)perylene
Benzo(k)fluoroanthene                                            Chrysene
Dibenz(a,h)anthracene                                            Fluoranthene
Fluorene                                                                Indeno(1,2,3-cd)pyrene
Naphthalene                                                           Phenanthrene
Volatile Organic Compounds.  Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) are emitted as gases from certain solids or liquids.  They include a variety of chemicals, some of which may have short- and long-term adverse health effects. VOCs are emitted by a wide array of products numbering in the thousands.  Examples include: paints and lacquers, paint strippers, cleaning supplies, pesticides, building materials and furnishings, office equipment such as copiers and printers, correction fluids and carbonless copy paper, graphics and craft materials including glues and adhesives, permanent markers, and photographic solutions.[3]  The following list reveals some of the VOCs that were tested for and detected at Balad.[4]  These results are from DoD testing from January through April 2007.
Acetone                                                                     Acrolein**
Benzene                                                                    Carbon Disulfide
Chlorodifluoromethane                                              Chloromethane
Ethylbenzene                                                            Hexane
Hexachlorobutadiene**                                              m/p-Xylene
Methylene Chloride                                                   Pentane
Propylene                                                                 Styrene
** Acrolein and Hexachlorobutadiene were occasionally detected far above the MEG ratio—once over 1800 percent above the MEG for Acrolein and over 500 percent above the MEG for Hexachlorobutadiene.
Toxic Organic Halogenated Dioxins and Furans.  Dioxins are well known to VA because of their association with tactical herbicide use in Vietnam.  Below is a list of the dioxins and furans detected at Balad from January through April 2007.
1,2,3,4,6,7,8 HPCDD                                               1,2,3,4,6,7,8 HPCDF
1,2,3,4,7,8,9 HPCDF                                              1,2,3,4,7,8 HXCDD
1,2,3,4,7,8 HXCDF                                                  1,2,3,6,7,8 HXCDD
1,2,3,6,7,8 HXCDF                                                  1,2,3,7,8,9 HXCDD
1,2,3,7,8,9 HXCDF                                                  1,2,3,7,8 PECDD
1,2,3,7,8 PECDF                                                      2,3,4,6,7,8 HXCDF
2,3,4,7,8 PECDF                                                      2,3,7,8 TCDD
2,3,7,8 TCDF                                                            octachlorodibenzodioxin
 [1] See Agency for Toxic Substance and Disease Registry, Department of Health and Human Services (retrieved Aug. 20, 2009, at http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/tfacts69.html#bookmark02).[2] See USACHPPM Report No. 47-MA-08PV-08/AFIOH.[3]  See U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Site at http://www.epa.gov/iaq/voc.html.[4] See USACHPPM) Report No. 47-MA-08PV-08/AFIOH.
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