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This report summarizes the scientific literature on 12 of the 35 pesticides that are likely to have been used during the Persian Gulf War. Where possible, it focuses on known pesticide exposures or doses and related health outcomes that may be relevant to symptoms reported by some Gulf War veterans. Particular attention is paid to long-term, chronic effects of reported exposures to organophosphate and carbamate pesticides. Evidence from epidemiological studies, studies of genetic and biological differences between ill and healthy subjects, and studies of the physiological mechanisms of organophosphate and carbamate pesticides is suggestive, but not conclusive, that these pesticides could be among the potential contributing agents to some of the undiagnosed illnesses seen in Gulf War veterans. However, no prospective studies have been conducted that positively identify pesticides as causative agents. More research is needed to confirm or refute a causal link between pesticides and other agents and the symptoms associated with Gulf War illnesses.

Table of Contents

  • Preface PDF

  • Figures PDF

  • Tables PDF

  • Summary PDF

  • Acknowledgments PDF

  • Acronyms and Abbreviations PDF

  • Chapter One

    Introduction PDF

  • Chapter Two

    Pesticides PDF

  • Chapter Three

    Health Problems in PGWV PDF

  • Chapter Four

    Lindane PDF

  • Chapter Five


  • Chapter Six

    Pyrethroids PDF

  • Chapter Seven

    Organophosphates and Carbamates PDF

  • Chapter Eight

    Confounding Factors: Individual Differences and Interactions PDF

  • Chapter Nine

    Concluding Remarks PDF

  • Appendix

    Comparison by Symptom Category of Subjects with AChE-Inhibitor Exposure (Organophosphate or Carbamate) and Ill PGWV PDF

  • Bibliography PDF

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

This report is part of the RAND Corporation monograph report series. The monograph/report was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1993 to 2003. RAND monograph/reports presented major research findings that addressed the challenges facing the public and private sectors. They included executive summaries, technical documentation, and synthesis pieces.

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.