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OCR for page 31
CONCLUSIONS An 82% response rate was obtained from Edgewood test subjects who were alive, could be located, and received a mailed questionnaire intended to gather information on their current health status. Long-term health effects of interest were excess cancer and adverse mental, necrologic, hepatic, and reproductive effects that might have resulted from experimental exposure of test subjects to chemicals administered at Edgewood. A review of the subjects' current use of tobacco, alcoholic beverages, and recreational drugs provided no unusual findings. Subjects tested with anticholinesterases, anticholinergics, cholinesterase Deactivators, or psychochemicals did not differ significantly from NOT or OCT subjects in their replies to questions about current health status. Almost 90% of all respondents reported no health problems related to toxic exposures, and 79% reported good to excellent health. (Subjects tested with LSD were not within the purview of this investigation, inasmuch as they had been evaluated and reported on earlier by a different group, which used other methods. The questionnaire revealed no adverse health effects among these subjects, except for an increase in later use of LSD.) The subjects tested with irritants and vesicants, including those who received skin burns from mustard gas, reported no significant frequency of adverse health effects or skin cancer. A review of admissions of Edgewood test subjects to Army hospitals in 1958-1983 and VA hospitals in 1963-1981 and specific admitting diagnoses yielded some interesting findings. Three significant increases were considered possible: (1) malignant neoplasms among men exposed to anticholinesterases and admitted to VA hospitals and (2) nervous system and (3) sense organ disorders among men exposed to LSD and admitted to VA hospitals and to Army hospitals. The numbers of these admissions were small, however, and no evidence of associ- ation with exposure to specific chemicals or with dosage was noted. The experimental methods used in this study and the available comparison groups were such that only large effects were likely to be uncovered. The large standard errors, the initial differences between the exposed and unexposed groups, the possibility that more than one exposure might have led to the same adverse effect, and the self- reporting nature of the questionnaire all would tend to obscure small differences. -31-

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