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Books, Journals, New Media
November 25, 1998

Environmental Health: Chemical Exposures: Low Levels and High Stakes

Author Affiliations

Harriet S.MeyerMD, Contributing EditorJonathan D.EldredgeMLS, PhD, Journal Review EditorRobertHoganMD, adviser for new media


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JAMA. 1998;280(20):1797-1798. doi:10.1001/jama.280.20.1797-JBK1125-5-1

The debate over the toxic effects of low-level exposures to a wide range of chemical substances in the modern environment continues. It has been amplified by illness reports from veterans of the Gulf War of 1990-1991 that bear striking resemblance to complaints heard over the past 20 to 30 years from civilians, diagnosed variously as chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia syndrome, or multiple chemical sensitivities. Chemical Exposures provides a scorecard for this debate, effectively updating the first edition by adding four new chapters on recent developments: summaries of major workshops, legal developments, research findings, and polemics. It ends with the authors' view of a future research agenda. Two useful appendices have been added on health effects associated with chemicals and foods, and clinical tests and a questionnaire used by one of the authors to evaluate patients with potential chemical sensitivities.