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Veterans at Risk: The Health Effects of Mustard Gas and Lewisite

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Veterans at Risk

The Health Effects of Mustard Gas and Lewisite (1993)
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Recently, World War II veterans have come forward to claim compensation for health effects they say were caused by their participation in chemical warfare experiments.

In response, the Veterans Administration asked the Institute of Medicine to study the issue. Based on a literature review and personal testimony from more than 250 affected veterans, this new volume discusses in detail the development and chemistry of mustard agents and Lewisite followed by interesting and informative discussions about these substances and their possible connection to a range of health problems, from cancer to reproductive disorders.

The volume also offers an often chilling historical examination of the use of volunteers in chemical warfare experiments by the U.S. military—what the then-young soldiers were told prior to the experiments, how they were "encouraged" to remain in the program, and how they were treated afterward.

This comprehensive and controversial book will be of importance to policymakers and legislators, military and civilian planners, officials at the Department of Veterans Affairs, military historians, and researchers.


Suggested Citation

Institute of Medicine. 1993. Veterans at Risk: The Health Effects of Mustard Gas and Lewisite. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.

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Publication Info

448 pages |6 x 9
ISBN: 978-0-309-04832-3

Table of Contents

skim chapter
Front Matter i-xx
Executive Summary 1-8
1 Introduction 9-13
2 Methods of Literature Collection and Survey 14-20
3 History and Analysis of Mustard Agent and Lewisite Research Programs in the United States 21-60
4 Findings from the Public Hearing Process 61-70
5 Chemistry of Sulfur Mustard and Lewisite 71-80
6 Relationship of Mustard Agent and Lewisite Exposure to Carcinogenesis 81-111
7 Nonmalignant Respiratory Effects of Mustard Agents and Lewisite 112-130
8 Ocular Effects of Mustard Agents and Lewisite 131-147
9 Dermatological Effects of Mustard Agents and Lewisite 148-178
10 Other Physiological Effects of Mustard Agents and Lewisite 179-198
11 Relationship of Mustard Agent and Lewisite Exposure to Psychological Dysfunction 199-213
12 Summary of Findings and Recommendations 214-226
Bibliography 227-330
A. Scientific and Background Presentations Made to the Committee 331-334
B. Excerpt from The Residual Effects of Warfare Gases 335-337
C. Involvement of the National Academy of Sciences Complex in World War II Research Programs: A Summary 338-339
D. Excerpts from Chamber Tests with Human Subjects I, II, and IX. Naval Research Laboratory Reports Nos. P-2208 and P-2579 340-369
E. Interim Report and Addendum: Feasibility of Developing a Cohort of Veterans Exposed to Mustard Gas During WWII Testing Programs 370-377
F. Summary of the Department of the Army Report: Use of Volunteers in Chemical Agent Research 378-381
G. Public Hearing Announcement 382-385
H. Letter from Dr. Jay Katz to Dr. David P. Rall 386-389
I. Risk Assessment Considerations for Sulfur Mustard 390-398
J. Examination of the Effects of Certain Acute Environmental Exposures on Future Respiratory Health Consequences 399-416
List of Acronyms and Abbreviations 417-420
Index 421-428

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