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Review of the Department of Defense Research Program on Low-Level Exposures to Chemical Warfare Agents
oped for this effort addresses research on operationally relevant performance decrements and delayed adverse health effects that potentially might be associated with low-level exposure to CWAs.
The stated objective of the Research Plan is to characterize the toxicity of CWAs to enable rational military decision making for issues related to doctrine, training, materiel, leadership, personnel, and facilities. The Research Plan includes consideration of the following: (1) decision making in operational risk management for the range of sensitivities needed for detectors, sensors, and alarms; (2) efficiency needed for individual and collective protection systems; (3) effectiveness of decontamination measures and procedures; (4) restoration of normal military operations; (5) return of previously contaminated materiel to “normal” use; (6) operationally relevant performance decrements and adverse long-term health sequelae; (7) as yet unrecognized outcomes of exposure; and (8) medical diagnostics, prophylaxes, pretreatments, and treatments.
The Research Plan describes DOD’s planned research on low-level exposure from Fiscal Year 20021 (FY 2002) to FY 2007 that has been or is to be conducted within the existing framework of the DOD Chemical and Biological Defense Program. Every study proposed under the Research Plan is designed to answer one mandatory question: How do data from this work contribute materially toward a quantitative refinement of the human health risk assessment for low-level CWA exposure? The Research Plan is based on three major research thrusts:
Characterize concentration-time relationships for low-level and longer-time CWA vapor exposures.
Identify alternative, but physiologically significant, toxicologic end points.
Conduct appropriate integration studies linking experimental data sets with predictive human health-effect risk assessments.
Prior to 2002, bits and pieces of the research on low-level exposure to CWAs were being done by various departments of the DOD. In 2002, the DOD formalized all the research on low-level exposures in the Department of Technology Office (DTO) of the DOD, and a time line was created to complete various kinds of research by DOD by 2007.