Pentagon To Notify Gulf Veterans Of
Possible Nerve Gas Exposure
From Jamie McIntyre
CNN Military Affairs Correspondent

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Pentagon officials will soon notify 35,000 veterans they might have been exposed to trace amounts of nerve gas in 1991 after U.S. soldiers blew up a an Iraqi ammunition dump at the end of the Gulf War.
Meanwhile, officials now believe that 33,000 soldiers who received a similar notification in 1997 were not exposed to the nerve gas, sources told CNN on Monday.
The Pentagon now believes, based on updated computer modeling, the chemical cloud from the destruction of the ammunition dump at Kamisiyah, in southeastern Iraq, had moved in a different direction than previously thought.
Based on that new analysis, the Pentagon estimates 101,000 U.S. troops might have been exposed to low levels of nerve gas. Previously, the Pentagon had said about 99,000 soldiers had been exposed.
New study to be released
The sources also told CNN that the Pentagon will release a new RAND review of medical studies on the effects -- including health impacts -- of low level exposure to nerve agents.
The review found no evidence of adverse health effects resulting from brief nerve gas exposure at doses low enough that no symptoms were reported at the time of exposure, the sources said.
The study, the sources said, is consistent with other reports.
U.S. troops destroyed Iraqi weapons stockpiles -- including 500 rockets filled with the deadly sarin nerve gas -- at the end of the Gulf War in March 1991.
'No well-controlled studies'
After learning that troops had destroyed chemical weapons in the mid-1990s, the Pentagon investigated the possibility that exposure to nerve gas might have caused health problems suffered by some Gulf War veterans.
The Institute of Medicine said in a review released in September that there was "inadequate" and "insufficient" evidence to support that theory.
The institute concluded that while it was "reasonable to hypothesize that long-term adverse health effects can occur after exposure to low levels of sarin, there are no well-controlled studies on long-term health effects."

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