Lourdes Salvador's Column
...Co-founder of MCS America discusses the latest Multiple Chemical Sensitivity issues.
Lourdes Salvador is the founder of MCS America, a science writer, and a social advocate for the greater awareness of environmental contamination, human toxicology, and propagation of multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS) as a disorder of organic biological origin induced by toxic environmental insults.
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Study Reveals Toxic Exposures Culprit in Gulf War IllnessStudy Reveals Toxic Exposures Culprit in Gulf War Illness
by Lourdes Salvador
New study findings support a role for wartime exposures in the cause of Gulf War illness.
At least 25% of U.S. veterans who served in the 1990-1991 Gulf War were affected by Gulf War illness.
Gulf War Illness (GWI) describes a variety of complex signs and symptoms which often includes disabling fatigue, intermittent fevers, night sweats, pain, memory impairments, headaches, skin rashes, diarrhea, abdominal bloating, chronic bronchitis, light sensitivity, confusion, visual problems, irritability, and depression.
Combat service itself was originally thought to produce some sort of vague post-traumatic stress disorder; however, combat service was not significantly associated with Gulf War illness in this study. Instead, toxic exposures were identified as a common thread.
"Deployment experiences and the prevalence of GWI differed significantly by veterans´ location in theater," says lead researcher Steele. "Among personnel who were in Iraq or Kuwait, where all battles took place, GWI was most strongly associated with using pyridostigmine bromide pills and being within one mile of an exploding SCUD missile. For veterans who remained in support areas, GWI was significantly associated only with personal pesticide use, with increased prevalence in the relatively small subgroup who wore pesticide-treated uniforms, nearly all of whom also used skin pesticides.
Based on this study, Gulf War illness is a disorder of toxicological origin, the result of toxic exposures resulting in permanent damage.
Steele L, Sastre A, Gerkovich MM, Cook MR 2011. Complex Factors in the Etiology of Gulf War Illness: Wartime Exposures and Risk Factors in Veteran Subgroups. Environ Health Perspect :-. http://dx.doi.org/10.1289/ehp.1003399
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