. "3 History and Analysis of Mustard Agent and Lewisite Research Programs in the United States." Veterans at Risk: The Health Effects of Mustard Gas and Lewisite. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press, 1993.
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Veterans at Risk: The Health Effects of Mustard Gas and Lewisite
and NRL in communication with the NDRC, rather than the CMR and CTGC. Thus, the sources used for information on concentrations and protocols for chamber tests included the Summary Technical Report of the NDRC and NRL technical reports. However, these sources are not exhaustive, and the details of chamber tests in locations such as Edgewood Arsenal and Great Lakes Naval Training Center were not made available to the committee for evaluation. Further, only the NRL has maintained accurate records of the individuals who participated in the tests (close to 2,500 men). Lacking similar information from the other locations, the total number of individuals involved in chamber tests is unknown. The vast majority of those participating in chamber tests were Caucasian men. A small number of African American and Japanese American soldiers were recruited for tests to determine possible differential skin effects of sulfur mustard on members of these races.
Similar to patch tests, there were a variety of types of chamber tests. For some chamber tests, the major questions were how long, under what conditions of temperature, and under what concentrations of gas would chloramide- or activated carbon-impregnated clothing afford protection of personnel against chemical attack with vesicants. The vesicant used most often was sulfur mustard, but nitrogen mustard and, probably, Lewisite were also used. These tests were called "man-break" tests. The common procedure was to equip men with gas masks2 and clothe them in the impregnated suits (see Figure 3-3). The men would then enter the gas chamber (Figure 3-4) and remain there for periods from 60 minutes to 4 hours. The interiors of the chambers were most often maintained at 90°F and 65 percent relative humidity, because investigators were specifically interested in the durability of protective clothing under tropical conditions. Following the period in the chamber, the men wore their gas masks for an additional 5 minutes and remained in the suits for additional periods of time, ranging from 4 to 24 hours3 (Taylor et al., 1943; see Appendix D for excerpts and the Military Reports section, U.S. Navy, of the Bibliography for a complete listing of NRL reports examined). Twenty-four hours after each chamber trial, the men were examined for reddening of the skin (erythema), evidence that the vapor had penetrated the
The gas masks used were Navy Mark III or Mark IV diaphragm-type masks, designed to facilitate speaking during mask use. These masks were eventually removed from use by the military, because the diaphragms were leaky (for a fuller discussion, see the Conclusions and Further Analysis section of this chapter).
It is not clear whether sulfur mustard, which is very persistent and evaporates slowly, was still present on the surface of the suits and, thus, a possible source of further contamination by inhalation or contact (fuller discussion is included at the end of this chapter).