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Review of Report and Approach to Evaluating Long-Term Health Effects in Army Test Subjects

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Between 1942 and 1975, the U.S. Army conducted tests on human subjects to study the effects of a variety of agents, including chemical warfare agents, biological agents, medications, vaccines, and other substances. The tests investigated the immediate or short-term health effects from acute exposure to understand vulnerabilities to attack. Whether the exposures could have resulted in long-term health consequences to the test subjects has been assessed periodically, and the Army is required to notify subjects of information relating to potential health effects associated with exposure to the test agents. Most recently, a 2016 court injunction directed the Army to provide test subjects with new information about potential long-term health effects associated with their exposures, and to provide medical care if an injury or illness could be attributed to their participation in an Army chemical or biological testing program. In support of the first requirement, the Army contracted a report, Assessment of Potential Long-Term Health Effects on Army Human Test Subjects of Relevant Biological and Chemical Agents, Drugs, Medications and Substances: Literature Review and Analysis (the Report), to determine whether new information published since 2006 should be provided to the veterans.

At the request of the Army, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine formed an ad hoc committee that was tasked with conducting an independent review of the Report. The committee assessed whether the Report appropriately identified potential long-term health effects that could have resulted from test exposures using an adequate weight-of-evidence approach. The general approach for evaluating agent- and outcome-specific associations as outlined in the Army Memorandum was also reviewed. An interim report of its overarching findings and their supporting evidence was prepared in February 2018. This final report provides additional detail about the basis of the committee’s findings and recommendations. No new findings or recommendations have been added to this report.


Suggested Citation

National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. Review of Report and Approach to Evaluating Long-Term Health Effects in Army Test Subjects. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.

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Publication Info

66 pages | 6 x 9
ISBN: 978-0-309-47418-4

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