Concerns about unexplained illnesses among veterans of the 1991 Gulf War appeared soon after that conflict ended. Many environmental causes have been suggested, including possible exposure to depleted uranium munitions, vaccines and other drugs used to protect troops, deliberate or accidental exposure to chemical warfare agents and pesticides and smoke from oil-well fires. To help resolve these issues, US and UK governments have sought independent expert scientific advice from prestigious, independent scientific and public health experts, including the US National Academies of Science and the UK Royal Society and Medical Research Council. Their authoritative and independent scientific and medical reviews shed light on a wide range of Gulf War environmental hazards. However, they have added little to our understanding of Gulf War veterans' illnesses, because identified health effects have been previously well characterized, primarily in the occupational health literature. This effort has not identified any new health effects or unique syndromes associated with the evaluated environmental hazards. Nor do their findings provide an explanation for significant amounts of illnesses among veterans of the 1991 Gulf War. Nevertheless, these independent and highly credible scientific reviews have proven to be an effective means for evaluating potential health effects from deployment-related environmental hazards.
One contribution of 17 to a Theme Issue ‘The health of Gulf War veterans’.
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