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Poirier, M.C. et al. Biomonitoring of United States Army Soldiers Serving in Kuwait in 1991. Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers, and Prevention 1998; 7: 545-551.

Blood and urine samples were collected from a sample of the soldiers from the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment before, during, and after their deployment from Germany to Kuwait from June 1991 to September 1991. The specimens were tested for biomarkers of exposure to organic pollutants because of the oil well fire pollution in Kuwait following the Gulf War. In addition, soldiers wore personal air sampling pumps in Kuwait. High volume air samplers were also used near the soldiers' work sites. No measurable amounts of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) were detected via the personal sampling pumps. The high volume samples were tested for 23 different PAHs and more than half of them were undetectable. Ambient concentrations of benzopyrene and other carcinogenic PAHs were detectable in only 8 of 99 samples. In the blood samples, mean concentrations of PAH-DNA adducts and for bulky aromatic DNA adducts were significantly lower for the period of the deployment in Kuwait than for the periods in Germany. Urinary levels of PAH metabolites were also lowest during the period in Kuwait. These findings were contrary to expectations but are consistent with evidence that PAH emissions are lower when fuels burn in an uncontrolled manner with unrestricted access to oxygen. The low levels of ambient PAHs are consistent with the low levels detected in blood and urine. Limitations of the study: applicability of these results to others stationed in Kuwait is uncertain; no air samples were taken in Germany, although published results in the literature show PAHs at considerably higher concentrations than those found in Kuwait; the contribution of diet (known to affect levels of the biomarkers studied) was not addressed.

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