National Academies Press: OpenBook

Veterans at Risk: The Health Effects of Mustard Gas and Lewisite (1993)

Chapter: G. Public Hearing Announcement

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Suggested Citation:"G. Public Hearing Announcement." Institute of Medicine. 1993. Veterans at Risk: The Health Effects of Mustard Gas and Lewisite. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/2058.
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G
Public Hearing Announcement

PUBLIC HEARING ANNOUNCEMENT

COMMITTEE TO SURVEY THE HEALTH EFFECTS OF MUSTARD GAS AND LEWISITE

Wednesday, April 15, 1992

1:00 PM until 4:00 PM

NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES LECTURE ROOM

2101 Constitution Avenue, N.W.

Washington, D.C.

This committee will be holding a public hearing to encourage veterans who participated as subjects in mustard gas and Lewisite tests during their military service, or their families or representatives, to tell the committee their experiences in these tests and subsequent health problems. All information given to the committee will be considered, in addition to the published scientific literature, as part of the committee's overall task to:

  1. Review the published literature on the long-term health effects of mustard gas and Lewisite

  2. Summarize the strength of association between exposure to these chemicals and specific diseases

  3. Identify gaps in the knowledge regarding the long-term health

Suggested Citation:"G. Public Hearing Announcement." Institute of Medicine. 1993. Veterans at Risk: The Health Effects of Mustard Gas and Lewisite. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/2058.
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effects associated with these chemicals

  1. Recommend ways to decrease the gaps in knowledge that may be found.

Those interested in giving a brief oral presentation to the committee must respond, giving their name, address, and telephone number, by Monday, March 16th to:

Constance M. Pechura, Ph.D. (Staff Director)

Institute of Medicine

F03036

2101 Constitution Avenue, N.W.

Washington, DC 20418

TEL: 202/334-3387

FAX: 202/334-2939

The committee also encourages submission of information in written form to the above address; telephone calls will also be accepted. Attendance at the public hearing is not required for consideration of your experiences by the committee. Please contact the staff director for additional information.

VETERANS WHO APPEARED AT THE PUBLIC HEARING

Glenn Jenkins, Nokomis, Florida

Johnnie H. Ross, Robersonville, North Carolina

Richard Snow, West Sunbury, Pennsylvania

Nathan J. Schnurman, Charles City, Virginia

Richard W. Rawls, Stone Mountain, Georgia

Dan Gentile, Scottsdale, Arizona

George Avery, Salem, Oregon

David D. Fallin, San Antonio, Texas

Charles Cavell, Midlothian, Virginia

Stanley Weintraub, Washington, D.C.

Bernard Klonowski, Arlington, Virginia

Frank Kozdras, Port Charlotte, Florida

Millard Scudder, Dillsboro, Indiana

Russell H. O'Berry, Richmond, Virginia

Joseph L. Butash, Scranton, Pennsylvania

R. B. Moore, Mechanicsville, Virginia

Victor R. Barnhardt, Concord, North Carolina

Victor LaBate, Jarrettsville, Maryland

Elmer L. Hood, Monroe, North Carolina

Walter Langston, Rectortown, Virginia

Suggested Citation:"G. Public Hearing Announcement." Institute of Medicine. 1993. Veterans at Risk: The Health Effects of Mustard Gas and Lewisite. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/2058.
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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.

Total Responses (as of June 29, 1992)

Total number of respondents

257

Number with serious injury

53

Number with scars

28

Number in other tests

21

Number reporting no health effects

12

Asthma

45

Chronic bronchitis

63

Laryngitis

25

Emphysema/lung disease

75

Conjunctivitis/opacities/keratitis

10

Skin rashes/blisters

55

Pneumonia (repeated)

16

Suggested Citation:"G. Public Hearing Announcement." Institute of Medicine. 1993. Veterans at Risk: The Health Effects of Mustard Gas and Lewisite. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/2058.
×

Sinus problems

16

Other respiratory problems

42

Cancers

 

Lung/laryngeal

6

Oral/nasal

1

Skin

20

Bladder

6

Prostate

6

Intestinal

1

Thyroid

1

Pancreas

1

Kidney

1

Leukemia/lymphoma

1

Unspecified

1

Tumors/polyps

 

Laryngeal

5

Intestinal

3

Brain

1

Heart problems

63

Vascular disease/stroke

15

Blood pressure problems

18

Chest pain

2

Diabetes

11

Cataracts/eye problems

50

Hearing problem

14

Nausea/stomach ulcers

22

Esophageal stricture

11

Hiatal hernia

6

Headaches

19

Arthritis/bone disease

40

Neurological problems

32

Depression/anxiety/post-traumatic stress disorder

52

Chronic pain

3

Alcoholism

3

Allergies

8

Blood/lymphatic disorders

6

Prostate disease

10

Kidney disease

10

Tuberculosis

4

Hepatitis B

1

Liver disease

4

Muscle spasms

2

Hair/tooth loss

4

Impotence/sterility/sexual problems

7

Genital burns and scars

7

Suggested Citation:"G. Public Hearing Announcement." Institute of Medicine. 1993. Veterans at Risk: The Health Effects of Mustard Gas and Lewisite. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/2058.
×
Page 382
Suggested Citation:"G. Public Hearing Announcement." Institute of Medicine. 1993. Veterans at Risk: The Health Effects of Mustard Gas and Lewisite. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/2058.
×
Page 383
Suggested Citation:"G. Public Hearing Announcement." Institute of Medicine. 1993. Veterans at Risk: The Health Effects of Mustard Gas and Lewisite. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/2058.
×
Page 384
Suggested Citation:"G. Public Hearing Announcement." Institute of Medicine. 1993. Veterans at Risk: The Health Effects of Mustard Gas and Lewisite. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/2058.
×
Page 385
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Veterans at Risk: The Health Effects of Mustard Gas and Lewisite Get This Book
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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.

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