Environmental toxins have been shown in several studies to be a potential trigger for immune dysfunction and autoimmunity. Now new data, from ex-military personnel, adds to that evidence base.
In this recent study, published in Arthritis & Rheumatology, U.S. veterans exposed to military burn pits and waste disposal were found to harbor more antibody markers for rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune disease that attacks the joints. The study (a case-control design) of nearly 800 veterans found that those exposed to burn pits were 66 percent more likely to have positive lab results for anti-cyclic citrullinated peptides (CCP), one of the antibody markers for rheumatoid arthritis disease activity. And those veterans exposed to military waste disposal were had an even greater risk (74 percent) of having those anti-CCP antibodies. These risks were greatest in those who also smoked and had the HLA-DRB1 genetic variant.
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