A recently completed study (available in preprint before peer review) identifies the development of what the authors term Toxicant-Induced Loss of Tolerance (TILT), the constellation of symptoms associated with chemical exposures.
(Beyond Pesticides, May 30, 2022) This Memorial Day, ask the U.S. government to show respect for veterans by recognizing Gulf War Illness (GWI) and honoring our commitment to those who have served the country. New research is providing strong causal evidence that Gulf War Illness (GWI) is the result of exposure to sarin gas, an organophosphate nerve agent, when Iraqi chemical weapons storage and production facilities were bombed during the Gulf War. The findings, published earlier this month in Environmental Health Perspectives, have important implications for the hundreds of thousands of American service members suffering from a constellation of chronic symptoms without a true understanding of how they became sick. â€śQuite simply, our findings prove that Gulf War illness was caused by sarin, which was released when we bombed Iraqi chemical weapons storage and production facilities,â€ť said Robert Haley, MD, lead author of the study and epidemiologist at University of Texas Southwestern. â€śThere are still more than 100,000 Gulf War veterans who are not getting help for this illness and our hope is that these findings will accelerate the search for better treatment.â€ť Tell the Secretary of Veterans Affairs and the U.S. Senate to provide disability benefits to those veterans […]
(Beyond Pesticides, May 24, 2022) New research is providing strong causal evidence that Gulf War Illness (GWI) is the result of exposure to sarin gas, an organophosphate nerve agent used by Saddam Hussein as a chemical weapon during the Gulf War. The findings, published earlier this month in Environmental Health Perspectives, have important implications for the hundreds of thousands of American service members suffering from a constellation of chronic symptoms without a true understanding of how they became sick. â€śQuite simply, our findings prove that Gulf War illness was caused by sarin, which was released when we bombed Iraqi chemical weapons storage and production facilities,â€ť said Robert Haley, MD, lead author of the study and epidemiologist at University of Texas Southwestern. â€śThere are still more than 100,000 Gulf War veterans who are not getting help for this illness and our hope is that these findings will accelerate the search for better treatment.â€ť Sarin was first synthesized in the late 1930s by Nazi chemists working for IG Farben (a consortium that included Bayer) in an attempt to create stronger and more powerful insecticides. Sarin is a G-series organophosphate (named after the scientists that created them), characterized by high acute toxicity and […]
(Beyond Pesticides, September 20, 2011) A study supported by the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command links pesticide exposure and other factors to Gulf War illness (also referred to as Gulf War Syndrome), an illness characterized by a wide range of acute and chronic symptoms experienced by veterans and civilians after the 1991 Gulf War. The study, â€śComplex Factors in the Etiology of Gulf War Illness: Wartime Exposures and Risk Factors in Veteran Subgroups,â€ť is published in the September 19, 2011 online edition of Environmental Health Perspectives. The researchers designed the study to compare the characteristics of deployment and the risk factors experienced by veterans participating in various theaters of the Gulf War. Among personnel who were in Iraq or Kuwait, where all battles took place, four exposures were independently associated with GWI: taking PB pills, being within one mile of an exploding SCUD missile, using pesticides on the skin, and exposure to smoke from oil well fires. For veterans who remained in support areas, GWI was significantly associated only with personal pesticide use, with increased prevalence (OR=12.7, CI=2.6-61.5) in the relatively small subgroup who wore pesticide-treated uniforms, nearly all of whom also used skin pesticides. Among 64 pesticide […]
(Beyond Pesticides, August 12, 2009) A new study examining the effects of the mosquito repellent DEET on insects, mice and human proteins reports that the chemical interferes with a prominent central nervous system enzyme. This effect is magnified when exposure to DEET is combined with exposure to certain other pesticides. Entitled, â€śEvidence for inhibition of cholinesterases in insect and mammalian nervous systems by the insect repellent deet,â€ť and published in BioMed Central (BMC) Biology, the study utilized toxicological, biochemical and electrophysiological techniques to show that DEET is not simply a behavior-modifying chemical, but that it also inhibits cholinesterase activity in both insect and mammalian neuronal preparations. The researchers examined DEETâ€™s effects on mosquitoes, cockroach nerves, mouse muscles, and enzymes purified from fruit flies and humans. Applications of DEET slowed or halted the actions of the enzyme acetylcholinesterase. This enzyme is crucial for regulating nerve impulses in both insects and mammals, and once its functions are disrupted, neuromuscular paralysis, leading to death by asphyxiation result. In humans, symptoms include headache, exhaustion and mental confusion together with blurred vision, salivation, chest tightness, and muscle twitching and abdominal cramps. The study also investigated the consequences of DEET interactions with carbamate insecticides on the […]
(Beyond Pesticides, November 18, 2008) At least one in four of the 697,000 U.S. veterans of the 1991 Gulf War suffer from Gulf War illness, a condition caused by exposure to toxic chemicals, including pesticides and a drug administered to protect troops against nerve gas, and no effective treatments have yet been found, a federal panel of scientific experts and veterans concludes in a landmark report released November 17, 2008. The Congressionally-mandated Research Advisory Committee on Gulf War Veteransâ€™ Illnesses presented the report to Secretary of Veterans Affairs James Peake at Veterans Administration (VA) headquarters in Washington, DC. Scientific staff support to the Committee is provided by the Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH). â€śThe extensive body of scientific research now available consistently indicates that Gulf War illness is real, that it is the result of neurotoxic exposures during Gulf War deployment, and that few veterans have recovered or substantially improved with time,â€ť the report says. The 450-page report brings together for the first time the full range of scientific research and government investigations on Gulf War illness and officially resolves many questions about the condition. The report found that Gulf War illness fundamentally differs from stress-related syndromes described […]
(Beyond Pesticides, March 13, 2008) Exposure to certain chemicals, including pesticides and nerve agents, explains the high rates of illness in Persian Gulf War Veterans, according to a new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Veterans from the 1990-91 conflict have a higher rate of chronic, multi-symptom health problems than either non-deployed personnel or those deployed elsewhere. Symptoms routinely reported by these veterans include fatigue, muscle or joint pain, memory problems, trouble sleeping, rash and breathing problems. Due to the findings, the study author, Beatrice Golomb, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor of medicine at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, warns of the potential risk to civilians exposed to pesticides.“Health issues among Gulf War veterans have been a concern for nearly two decades. Now, enough studies have been conducted, and results shared, to be able to say with considerable confidence that there is a link between chemical exposure and chronic, multi-symptom health problems,” said Dr. Golomb. “Furthermore, the same chemicals affecting Gulf War veterans may be involved in similar cases of unexplained, multi-symptom health problems in the general population.”The study synthesized evidence regarding a class of chemicals known as acetylcholinesterase inhibitors (AchEs), including […]