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Troops in Mideast Have More Respiratory Ills, Data Show

SHIRLEY S. WANG – (Wall Street Journel) – May 16, 2011 – Veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan have a higher rate of debilitating respiratory illness than those deployed elsewhere, according to a new study that bolsters concerns among some medical professionals and members of Congress about the potential harm to troops from toxic chemicals and dust in the Middle East.

Soldiers who served in Iraq or Afghanistan complain of lingering coughs, shortness of breath, dizziness and other symptoms. Now, scientists say troops who served in the Middle East have higher rates of respiratory problems compared to those who served elsewhere. WSJ’s Shirley Wang reports.

The findings, which will be presented Wednesday at the International Conference of the American Thoracic Society in Denver, place renewed urgency on getting at the root of why some young, previously healthy soldiers have been returning from the Middle East complaining of symptoms including shortness of breath and dizziness. In many cases, the soldiers can no longer pass a required physical to continue with active duty.

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