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Troops in Mideast Have More Respiratory Ills, Data Show

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KBR said in a statement Monday it never operated or provided support services for the burn pit in Balad, and the pits it does operate are done so at the direction of the military in the field.

Halliburton Co., which spun off KBR in 2007 as a stand-alone company, is also named in the suit. “These lawsuits are based on KBR activity in Iraq and Afghanistan and we believe that Halliburton is improperly named and should be dismissed from the suits,” Halliburton said in a statement Monday. “Further, it would be inappropriate for Halliburton to comment on the merits of a matter affecting only the interest of KBR.”

A separate study of 55 soldiers who have served in the region showed that many of them had a rare and irreversible lung disease in which the walls of the small airways were narrowed, making breathing difficult at times.

Robert Miller, a pulmonary and critical-care medicine professor at Vanderbilt University, will be presenting new findings on the soldiers, from Fort Campbell, Ky., who complained of respiratory symptoms but had normal results on the standard lung-function and X-ray assessments.

Analysis of biopsied lung tissue taken from the soldiers, who all served in Iraq or Afghanistan, showed that 38 had an unusual thickening of the small lung airways that restricted air flow, a condition known as constrictive bronchiolitis.

There isn’t any treatment for the condition, but a diagnosis could allow soldiers to receive health-care benefits that they wouldn’t otherwise get because other lung tests are normal, said Dr. Miller, whose research was paid for in part by a grant from the National Institutes of Health. (Click HERE for original article)

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