Examining Possible Causes of Gulf War Illness: RAND Policy Investigations and Reviews of the Scientific Literature
Nov 25, 2005
Volume 5: Chemical and Biological Warfare Agents
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That Iraq had already used chemical warfare agents led coalition forces to take protective action. Yet many Gulf War veterans have reported a host of symptoms that could be construed as coming from exposure to chemical or biological weapons. The scientific literature on the effects of exposure to such agents suggests the following: Militarily effective doses of any of the agents reviewed would have produced severe health effectsthat would have required clinical treatment or resulted in death. However, since low-level exposures could have produced mild clinical signs that could have been overlooked or misinterpreted, it is not possible to rule out low-dose exposures to one or several classes of agents or the possibility of some resultant contribution to some of the symptoms Gulf War veterans have experienced. Still, it is difficult to believe that exposures affecting largenumbers of persons would escape clinical recognition. Further, no references in the literature report clinical symptoms developing years after exposure, as was the case in about 50 percent of the health problems Gulf War veterans have reported.
Foreword and Acknowledgments
Overview of Chemical and Biological Warfare
Conclusions and Recommendations
Dose and Exposure Characterizations
Data on Nerve Agents
Survey of C-fos