Cover: A Review of the Scientific Literature as it Pertains to Gulf War Illnesses

A Review of the Scientific Literature as it Pertains to Gulf War Illnesses

Volume 5: Chemical and Biological Warfare Agents

Published 2000

by William Augerson

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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.

This research was sponsored by the RAND National Security Research Division and RAND Health.

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