Public Release: 

Possible exposure to nerve agents and brain cancer deaths in Gulf War veterans

National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine

A new research paper to be published in the August 2005 issue of the American Journal of Public Health finds that Gulf War veterans who may have been exposed to nerve agents during the March 1991 weapons demolitions in Khamisiyah, Iraq, appear to have a higher risk for brain cancer death than veterans who were not exposed. Researchers compared the causes of death in a group of 100,487 possibly exposed U.S. Army Gulf War veterans with those among 224,980 Army Gulf War veterans who were not exposed to nerve agents released during the demolitions and found no difference in overall mortality or all cancer mortality. However, exposed veterans were about twice as likely to have died from brain cancer as unexposed veterans, corresponding to roughly 12 excess deaths due to brain cancer among the 100,487 exposed veterans over a 9-year period. The study's authors said additional research is needed to confirm their findings of a higher brain cancer death risk for some Gulf War veterans. [From: "Mortality in US Army Gulf War Veterans Exposed to 1991 Khamisiyah Chemicals Munitions Destruction."]


To obtain a copy of this paper, contact Natalie Raynor at the American Journal of Public Health at tel. 202-777-2511 or e-mail Advance copies will be available to reporters only. THE PAPER IS EMBARGOED AND NOT FOR PUBLIC RELEASE BEFORE 4 P.M. EDT ON JULY 25. One of the authors of this paper, William Page from the Institute of Medicine in Washington, D.C., is available for interviews. Reporters can contact him at tel. 202-334-2828 or by e-mail at

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