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Activity title

Health Risk Assessment for Chemical Exposures of Military Interest

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Human Factors and Medicine

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chemicals, dosimetry, early indicators of health, effects biomarkers, exposure guidelines, health effects, measuring and monitoring strategies, particulate matter dust, predictive toxicology, risk assessment


Participation in military operations is accompanied by health hazards resulting from exposure to chemical substances from natural and anthropogenic sources. Historically, focus on toxicological risks has been on the health effects of exposure to chemical warfare weapons (CWA). In recent years the awareness of the importance of health hazards resulting from exposure of other chemicals encountered during military operations has grown steadily. The new era brings new types of operations, mostly out-of-area, and new “threats” including releases of toxic industrial chemicals (TICs) and materials (TIMs) as well as health effects of many chemicals of different nature in the operational environment, including the releases of chemicals with a specific military nature e.g. ammunitions, explosives, pyrotechnics, (jet) fuels, combustion products and pesticides. To the best of our knowledge, the potential health risks from operations and all of the contributing chemicals from urban pollution have not been investigated. Armed forces need to be able to perform a military-relevant and dedicated risk assessment of toxic materials (other then CWA) under operational conditions during missions and exercises. Justification for the activity is apparent from the statement that an improved level of safety and health care for military personnel under operational conditions will enhance combat readiness and effectiveness, and increase the probability of successful mission completion. An additional, non-operational benefit is that the risk of post-deployment illness and disability, resulting from exposures during deployment, will be reduced.


The new activity will address the issue of health hazards resulting from exposure to chemicals in order to enable risk management. Special attention will be paid to operational risk assessment and short and long term health effects. For this purpose the TG will have regular meetings, in order to facilitate communication and coordination of research efforts among the participating nations.


The topics of the TG’s activity to be covered in relation to adverse health effects of deployed personnel are: • Urban and industrial pollutants in areas to which military personnel are deployed: o Particulate matter o Fuels and combustion by-products from traffic, industrial and residential activities o Agriculture-related chemicals and materials o Industrial by-products and waste • Pollutants originating from military activities o Burn pits o Pesticides o Fuels or combustion products thereof

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