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Naval Medical Research
and Development
Enterprise Laboratories

Submariner Health Program

Health Effects of Submarine Atmospheres

Current exposure limits for submarine atmospheric compounds were developed for all male crews and need to be re-evaluated to ensure health protection of all crew members now that women are serving on submarines. NAMRU-D researchers conducted animal experiments to assess current exposure standards for key atmospheric components of concern (O2, CO2, CO). Studies to date indicate that existing exposure standards are protective of both male and female crewmember health. Additional chemicals are proposed for further testing.

Reproductive & Developmental Health

Women serving on submarines means that air standards must protect the reproductive health of both men & women as well as the developmental health involved with a potential pregnancy. NAMRU-D researchers studied timed pregnant female rats exposed to increased COAMRU-D researchers studied timed pregnant female rats exposed to increased CO2 concentrations. Conducted evaluation of maternal health effects as well as growth & development of fetuses & allowed recommended alterations to health protective exposure limits.

Submarine Environment Advisory Board (SEAB)

Key member of SEAB charged with reviewing “issues on behalf of the Submarine Force relevant to submariner health regarding identification, monitoring, and risk mitigation of  hazardous environmental exposures.




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