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Veterans at Risk: The Health Effects of Mustard Gas and Lewisite
SUMMARY OF HEALTH PROBLEMS REPORTED BY VETERANS
The following information is included to inform readers of the general types of health problems that were reported to the committee by the veterans. It is important to note, however, that this information was not collected in the rigorous manner required for quantitative analysis. Thus, no conclusions were drawn from the distribution or frequencies of specific diseases listed here by the committee and, likewise, such conclusions should not be drawn by the readers.
The total number of respondents represents each individual who contacted the committee through letters, phone calls, or appearances at the public hearing. The numbers indicated with serious injuries represent those veterans who were hospitalized within days following their exposure, whether or not this exposure was due to accidental explosions, normal testing conditions, or, in a very few cases, combat injuries. Some of the veterans also participated in other types of tests. Most often the additional tests were patch or drop tests of liquid mustard gas, but some others included atomic bomb tests and drug tests. Finally, the number with scars still present and the number of veterans who reported no health problems that they attribute to their exposure are also listed.
Finally, it should be noted that the disease and health problem categories are arbitrary and in some cases a number of different specific diseases are grouped into one category. For example, heart attacks, congestive heart problems, and angina are all listed under heart problems. Respiratory problems encompass difficulty in breathing, chronic colds and infections, lung collapses, and chronic cough. Esophageal stricture includes complaints of difficulty in swallowing.