medical surveillance, especially for deployed personnel, to include additional data (for example, results of pulmonary-function tests) that could be used to assess health outcomes. The information currently collected by the military in medical databases is not designed for use in research studies to assess associations with air-pollution exposures. However, collection and use of that medical information, with an eye to developing a more robust surveillance system, could strengthen the ability to study environmental-health issues of concern.
The committee also considers that, whenever feasible, efforts should be made to minimize exposures of the troops. There are a number of ways to accomplish that; for example, if there is a prevailing wind direction, emission sources (such as burn pits and incinerators) could be located downwind of bases. For periodic emissions, such as from waste-burning, burns should take place when the prevailing meteorologic conditions favor dispersion of the emissions. That would be a general approach for reducing exposures and improving health.