Postdeployment evaluation of health risk communication after exposure to a toxic industrial chemical

James D. Mancuso, Margaret Ostafin, Mark Lovell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Increasing emphasis is being placed on the appropriate communication of deployment-related risks among military service members. This report validates risk communication on the postdeployment health assessment (PDHA), in the context of a known, low-level exposure to a toxic industrial chemical. In late 2003, 245 soldiers were exposed to hexavalent chromium at an industrial site in Iraq; of those, 227 had completed PDHAs on file for review. Despite being directed to document this exposure upon redeployment, only 55 soldiers (24.2%) specifically reported chromium exposure. Increasing age and time at the industrial site were associated with increased reporting of exposure. Although providers documented deployment exposure concerns for only 65.4% of this population, this was much more often than for other redeploying service members. The PDHA is a risk assessment and risk communication tool that has sources of misclassification, and results must be interpreted with caution when individual or population occupational and environmental risks resulting from deployment are assessed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)369-374
Number of pages6
JournalMilitary Medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2008
Externally publishedYes


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