Pollie Bith-Melander1, Jack Ratliff2,3, Chelsey Poisson3, Charulata Jindal4, Yuk Ming Choi5 and
Jimmy T Efird6*
1Department of Social Work, California State University, Stanislaus, Turlock, CA, USA
2Department of Medical-Surgical Oncology, James A Haley Veterans Affairs Hospital, Tampa, FL, USA
3Military Exposures Team, HunterSeven Foundation, Providence, RI, USA
4Harvard Medical School, Harvard University, Boston, USA
5Signify Health, Dallas, TX, 75244, USA
6Cooperative Studies Program Epidemiology Center, Health Services Research and Development, DVAHCS,
During deployment to the Persian Gulf War and Southwest Asia theatre of operations, Veterans
often experienced various hazards, foremost being open-air burn pits and oil well fires. While over
23 presumptive conditions (ranging from brain cancer, interstitial lung disease, and lymphomas
to sleep/mood disorders, depression, and cognitive impairment) have been studied in connection
with their military-related exposures, there is a paucity of qualitative research on this topic.
This is especially true in the context of explanatory models and health belief systems, vis-à-vis
underlying social and cultural factors. The current paper provides a balanced conceptual framework
(summarizing causal virtues and shortcomings) about the challenges that Veterans encounter when
seeking medical care, screening assessments and subsequent treatments.
Burn pits; Oil well fires; Military exposures; Explanatory models; Qualitative analysis; Deployment anthropology
Bith-Melander P, Ratliff J, Poisson C, Jindal C, Choi YM, Efird JT. Slow Burns: A Qualitative Study of Burn Pit and Toxic Exposures Among Military Veterans Serving in Afghanistan, Iraq and Throughout the Middle East. Ann Psychiatr Clin Neurosci. 2021; 4(1): 1042..