Symptoms of gulf war veterans possibly exposed to organophosphate chemical warfare agents at Khamisiyah, Iraq

Linda A. McCauley, Gary Rischitelli, William E. Lambert, Michael Lasarev, Diana L. Sticker, Peter S. Spencer

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During the 1991 Gulf War, some Allied troops were potentially exposed to sarin/cyclosarin as the result of the destruction of Iraqi munitions at Khamisiyah. To evaluate the prevalence of past and current symptoms known to be associated with exposure to these chemical warfare agents, the authors conducted a computer-assisted telephone survey of 2,918 U.S. Gulf War veterans. Veterans who had participated in or witnessed the demolition in 1991 were more likely to report historical or extant symptoms than were veterans from other military units. These results should be viewed cautiously because they are based on symptoms recalled nine years after the event without precise characterization of exposure. Nonetheless, the findings suggest that symptoms consistent with low-level sarin exposure may have initially occurred, and health effects may have persisted in the veterans who were nearest to the demolition activity. Further research is warranted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)79-89
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Journal of Occupational and Environmental Health
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1 2001



  • Chemical warfare agents
  • Gulf War
  • Health symptoms
  • Khamisiyah
  • Organophosphates

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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