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Veterans at Risk: The Health Effects of Mustard Gas and Lewisite
had complete military records and numerous citations for their work with chemical agents.
TREATMENT OF HUMAN SUBJECTS
In the course of this study, the committee examined many government documents and technical summaries of experiments with mustard agents and Lewisite that involved the use of human subjects. Although information regarding the treatment of human subjects was scarce, it was possible to piece together a general picture. Certain aspects of these reports were striking and, coupled with very precise and matching statements of many veterans, were impossible for the committee to ignore. A brief description of these aspects is included here to corroborate the statements of the veterans. It is also presented to make manifest all of the information and challenges that faced this committee and to offer additional background for some of the directions taken by the committee during the study.
Detailed descriptions, or copies of official instructions, of how human subjects were recruited are lacking, but are outlined in Cochrane's (1946) historical description of the research done under the CWS (declassified in 1991) and other papers. One report, "Chamber Tests with Human Subjects," includes a short section that describes the treatment of subjects in the initial chamber tests at the NRL (Taylor et al., 1943; see also Appendix D). This section details how the men were induced to participate by offers of extra leave and a "change of scenery." It further states that the men should not be told too much in the beginning, but that after a few times in the chamber they can be told "almost anything without affecting their morale.''
In contrast, Cochrane states that tests at Camp Sibert in Alabama had to be halted due to a lack of willing subjects. The official explanation was that the commanding officers actively discouraged men from becoming subjects, because they did not want to have to replace them. Cochrane, who was present at Camp Sibert and notes in the text that men were sometimes burned more than necessary, writes that the "apathy may have been due to the look of the scars on the men returned to the training companies after the tests." The NRL report provides additional evidence for severe injuries during the testing programs: in praising the morale of the subjects, it describes how men sent to the hospital and incapacitated for a month were "not upset and even volunteered for further trials" (Taylor et al., 1943; see also Appendix D). However, morale may not have been uniformly high at NRL, because the same report also gives instructions for dealing with uncooperative individuals. Such subjects were to be given "a short, explanatory talk and, if necessary, a slight verbal 'dressing down."' Finally, although no man