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Article
August 3, 1994

The Persian Gulf Experience and Health

Author Affiliations

Workshop and Panel Chairperson, Professor, Environmental Health Department, Associate Dean for Professional Education, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, Mass; Workshop and Panel Vice Chairperson, Professor, Department of Epidemiology, Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health, Baltimore, Md; Professor, Department of Environmental Health, University of Cincinnati (Ohio) College of Medicine; Associate Professor, Department of Medicine, Chief, Clinical Services, Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Tex; Deputy National Legislative Director, Disabled American Veterans, Washington, DC; Associate Professor, Department of Epidemiology and of Environmental and Occupational Health, Emory University School of Public Health, Atlanta, Ga; Adjunct Associate Professor, Division of Environmental and Occupational Medicine, Mt Sinai School of Medicine, New York, NY; Assistant Professor, Division of International Medicine, Department of Medicine, Cornell University Medical College, New York, NY; Professor and Chairman, Department of Neurology, Director, Neurotoxicology Center, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, New York, NY; Professor Emeritus, University of California-Berkeley; Professor, Department of Environmental Health, Director, Environmental Science and Engineering Program, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, Mass; Associate Professor, Department of Neurology, University of Wisconsin Medical School, Madison; Chair, Department of Pharmacology, Director, Clinical Pharmacology Program, Howard University College of Medicine, Washington, DC; Legislative Assistant, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Washington, DC; Director, National Legislative Commission, The American Legion, Washington, DC; Deputy National Service Director, Disabled American Veterans, Washington, DC; Desert Storm Veterans Association, Hewitt, Tex; Planning Committee Chairperson, Chief, Clinical Research Branch, US Environmental Protection Agency, Research Triangle Park, NC; Director, Office of Veterans Affairs and Military Liaison, Department of Health and Human Services, Washington, DC; Medical Consultant, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Washington, DC; Associate Executive Director for Health Policy, Paralyzed Veterans of America, Washington, DC; Chief, Air Pollution and Respiratory Health Branch, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Ga; Director, Office of Medical Applications of Research, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Md; Professor, Department of Epidemiology, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Md; Professor, Department of Environmental Health, Associate Dean for Professional Education, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, Mass; Deputy Director, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, National Institutes of Health, Research Triangle Park, NC; Director of Communications, Office of Medical Applications of Research, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Md; Associate Director for Disease Prevention, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Md; Director, Compensation and Pension Service, Department of Veterans Affairs, Washington, DC; Director, Environmental Epidemiology Service, Department of Veterans Affairs, Washington, DC; Chief, Physiology Section, Clinical Research Branch, US Environmental Protection Agency, Research Triangle Park, NC; Acting Director, Environmental Agents Service, Office of Environmental Medicine and Public Health, Department of Veterans Affairs, Washington, DC; Senior Policy Analyst for Health Promotion, Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs, Washington, DC; Deputy Associate Chief Medical Director, Research and Development, Department of Veterans Affairs, Washington, DC; Acting Director, National Center for Environmental Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Ga; Director, Special Outreach Program for the Office of Public Affairs, Department of Health and Human Services, Washington, DC
From the Office of Medical Applications of Research, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Md.

JAMA. 1994;272(5):391-396. doi:10.1001/jama.1994.03520050071033
Abstract

FOLLOWING the return of US and coalition forces from the complex environment of the Persian Gulf region during Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm and the operational conditions of the military deployment, a variety of health effects have been reported. Many troops were exposed to potentially adverse substances and experiences present in this wartime environment, fumes and smoke from military operations, oil well fires, diesel exhaust, toxic paints, pesticides, sand, depleted uranium, infectious agents, chemoprophylactic agents, and multiple immunizations; some troops are convinced they were exposed to chemical or biological weapons. Few combat casualties occurred, but substantial transient gastrointestinal and respiratory symptoms were seen during the troop buildup and immediately after the short conflict. Since then, there have been increasing reports of illness from troops who were participants in these operations, and many attribute their health problems to these experiences. Many of the cases include combinations of nonspecific symptoms of

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