Paper links Iraq nerve gas to illnesses

NEW YORK, Dec. 14 (UPI) -- A new scientific paper offers evidence nerve agents released during the 1991 Iraq war could have carried downwind and fallen on American troops in Saudi Arabia.

The paper by James J. Tuite and Dr. Robert Haley, published in the international scholarly journal Neuroepidemiology, rebuts a longstanding Pentagon position that neurotoxins, particularly sarin gas, could not have traveled far enough to sicken American forces, The New York Times reported Friday.


Relying on data from meteorological and intelligence reports, the authors' thesis is that nerve agents released in the bombings of nerve gas depots in Muthanna and Fallujah, Iraq, immediately preceding the ground war, could have spread the various chemicals through the atmosphere.

Nearly half the 700,000 service members who were deployed in the 1990-1991 war have filed disability claims, and more than 85 percent of those claims were granted, the Department of Veterans Affairs said.

Many veterans have reported long-lasting problems, including chronic pain, memory loss and fatigue, some of which have no clear causes, and insist they are not the cause of stress but have a biological basis, the newspaper said.

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