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march/april 2008

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The DoD’s Force Health Protection and Readiness operation has set up three chemical/biological exposure databases. It is DoD’s responsibility to collect and validate chem/bio exposures to service members while on active duty and to maintain these databases. It is the responsibility of the VA to inform veterans about their exposures and the benefits to which they may be entitled, and to advise these veterans of procedures to follow if they have health concerns.

One database—now basically complete—contains more than 6,300 names of veterans who participated in mustard and lewisite experiments in the 1940s. Some 4,600 of these veterans were exposed to mustard or lewisite. Data were collected in the mid-1990s; DoD does not have dose information.

The second database—not necessarily complete—has more than 6,440 names of veterans who participated in the Project 112/SHAD tests between 1963 and 1973. Work on this database commenced in 2000 and ended in 2003, although DoD says it will “continue to pursue all leads from veterans.” Individual exposure data are not part of the database, as many documents are still classified.

The third database, which contains approximately 10,000 names including some 1,800 who participated in tests with no active agent involved, deals with a variety of other chem/bio exposures between World War II and today. These include: LSD exposures; experiments at Edgewood Arsenal and Fort Detrick in Maryland; and experiments at nineteen total locations, information about which DoD is obtaining at the Edgewood Historical Office, the Rocky Mountain Arsenal, Dugway Proving Ground in Utah, and other sites. DoD does have detailed exposure, treatment, and test information in this database.

In these tests, more than four hundred different compounds were involved. They included 46 chemical agents; biological agents and experimental vaccines; hallucinogens, including LSD; treatments, including atropine; and drugs such as Benadryl, Ritalin, and Dapsone.



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