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Missile Cancer Study team conducts 2nd batch of testing at ICBM bases

  • Published
  • By Dr. Steven Wilson
  • AFGSC Public Affairs

The Air Force School of Aerospace Medicine sent teams to all three intercontinental ballistic missile wings to test for exposure hazards within missile alert facilities.

The tests are part of the ongoing missile community cancer study.

The teams gathered water and soil samples to test for radon, polychlorinated biphenyls and organic phosphates.

The team conducted additional testing to identify any hazardous conditions related to indoor air quality. Samples will identify if there are any harmful levels of carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, ambient temperature and humidity.

The next steps are to analyze the samples and fuse the data into a format that helps USAFSAM toward additional steps, if needed. 

“Each stage of data and sample collection builds upon itself,” said Col. Tory Woodard, commander, USAF School of Aerospace Medicine. “It takes time to be meticulous, but it's necessary because these are the data sets we will build the foundation of this study from. We need to really understand what these data are telling us.”

In addition to the latest assessments, the study continues to examine medical data from uniformed personnel, and from the veteran community, who have worked in or around ICBM facilities, as well as cancer registry data from the Department of Veterans’ Affairs.

The initial review of ICBM facilities conducted from late February 2023 to early March 2023 found no readily discernible link between the buildings and cancer. However, the preliminary assessment recommended a deep cleaning of each launch control facility and to modify existing procedures related to personnel working within certain radio frequency boundaries. There was also a recommendation to stop burning classified materials while in the underground facility.

There is no projected time-limit to the study.

If any Airman – past or currently serving, Guardian, or family member has a question about the ongoing cancer study, they should speak to their medical provider. Questions may also be submitted to the Office of the Air Force Surgeon General at:

The Missile Community Cancer Study website contains FAQs constantly updated in real-time and the latest information related to the study. The webpage may be reached at