Friday, January 9, 2009

Gulf War Syndrome is real, and was caused (at least in part) by exposure to pesticides

A new report linking exposure to two chemicals with Gulf War syndrome was recently presented to the US Secretary of Veterans Affairs. One was a drug given to soldiers to protect against nerve gas, and the other a pesticide applied to protect against sand fleas. According to the authors of an article that appeared in November in the LA Times, titled Report to Congress: Gulf War Syndrome is Real, this latest report to Congress contradicts nearly two decades of government denials that the syndrome is real.

Dr. Beatrice Golomb is an associate professor at the UCSD School of Medicine who headed up the team that worked on the report to Congress. She links the chronic fatigue, severe muscle pain, memory loss and other illnesses that about 250,000 Persian Gulf War veterans are experiencing to the drug pyridostigmine bromide they were given to protect against nerve gas attacks, and exposure to organophosphate pesticides.

It is really frightening to know that many organophosphate insecticides are still registered for use in the United States. These powerful nerve poisons are closely related in chemical structure to sarin and other nerve gases used as chemical weapons. For more information about organophosphate pesticides and what you can do to help get them off the market, check out PANNA's campaign on organophosphates.

- Guest post by Toxic Free NC volunteer Sylvia Durell

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