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Panel Doubts Nerve Gas To Blame For Gulf War Illnesses

Tue., Jan. 7, 1997

The Pentagon was slow in investigating whether chemical weapons could be causing Persian Gulf War veterans’ health problems, though any nerve gas exposure that might have occurred is unlikely to explain their illnesses, a presidential panel has concluded.

In its final report, the Presidential Advisory Committee on Gulf War Veterans’ Illnesses generally praises the government’s response to ailing veterans, concludes that their medical treatment has been “excellent” and states that efforts to research their problems are “appropriate.”

But the report urges that all possible exposure to poison gas during the war be thoroughly investigated, noting that one of the “principal uncertainties” about veterans’ illnesses concerns the possible long-term effects of exposure to chemical weapons.

President Clinton will receive the report today.

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