Grandpa Gordon looked at his son somewhat crestfallen, “I know you may feel like the world is crashing down on you, but you can’t give up hope. You have a family that will do anything for you, and I mean anything. You can take that any way you want. I have taken the lives of our enemies in three different wars. When those kidnappers took our little Yua, they essentially declared war on the Andersons, so therefore I will treat any and all of them as enemy combatants. I haven’t always been there for you or have I even been the best father, but I mean to make up for that now. I won’t rest until we have some kind of resolution. And as long as I am alive, your family will never want for anything. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Medicine has come a long way since your grandfather had cancer. I am sure that you will lick this terrible scourge. You are an Anderson after all, an nothing gets in our way when we want something bad enough.”
One of the perks of being a retired two-star general is that Grandpa Gordon was able to get a bored adjutant to drive them to his son Papa Sam’s apartment. When they finally arrived at the apartment they were greeted with tearful hugs and much gutwrenching sobs. As much as they tried they were not able to put a positive spin on the horrific events that had transpired. Papa Sam was exhausted beyond belief and by the time all the hugging and cheek kissing was over he had just enough energy to make it to their bed where he collapsed and immediately fell into a fitful sleep.
Grandpa Gordon immediately asked Sakura who the contact people were for the mililitary, FBI and the D.C. Metro Police so that he could start making calls. Even though he was heartbroken, he had learned to compartmentalize things so that he could be more efficient and effective. He found out if you let your emotions get the better of you people tended to die, and he was not about to let that happen to his granddaughter. He knew better to expect definitive answers at this early stage in the investigation. He just wanted to make sure that they had everything they needed to do their job, whether it be any additional resources that they might not have at hand. He also decided to call up an old friend to get some legal advice on what to do about his son’s exposure to the burning oil wells in Kuwait.
Grandpa Gordon made his calls and each and every time they said it was too early in the investigation and were investigating promising leads in the case. They were talking to eyewitnesses and were collecting all the videos in one-mile square area around the park to see if they could find how she was taken. They also had some pretty good descriptions of the young man chasing after his dog which was timed too well to be a mere coincidence. They all thanked him for his offer and would be in contact as soon as they had anything concrete to report to the family. So Grandpa Gordon decided to take what they said at face value and therefore he would not interfere just yet. However, in the back of his mind he considered hiring private investigators that specialize in these types of cases.
With all that information being processed we are going to allow the Metro Police and the FBI to do their jobs without any interference according to Grandpa Gordon’s wishes. We will now investigate what can be done for Papa Sam. The reader may recall that in Chapter 32 we discussed the oil rig fires that were set. In that chapter, I only briefly eluded to how dangerous they were to those individuals who were exposed for extended periods of time. In this chapter, we will discuss the health hazards in much more depth as the Anderson family prepares for a lawsuit against the U.S. Government. In Chapter 39, I will discuss the futile efforts Papa Sam took to fight his non-small cell carcinoma.
Upon a cursory investigation there is little more than anecdotal evident on the effects of the oil well fires. Particles from oil well fires may cause skin irritation, runny nose, cough, shortness of breath; eye, nose, and throat irritation; and aggravation of sinus and asthma conditions. Most of the irritation is temporary and resolves once the exposure is gone. The Final Report of the Presidential Advisory Committee on Gulf War Illnesses (1999) stated,”Known immediate health effects from inhaling large amounts of smoke and particulates are primarily respiratory.” It took a great deal of deep digging to finally find more information on oil well fire exposures in Kuwait, but finally I did meet with success.
The Presidential Advisory Committee on Gulf War Veterans’ Illnesses was established by EO 12961 of May 26, 1995. The purpose of the Advisory Committee was the oversight of the ongoing investigation being conducted by the Department of Defense and ther executive departments and agencies into possible chemical or biological warfare agent exposures during the Gulf War. The Advisory Committee was also charged with the evaluation of the Federal Government’s plan for and progress toward the implementation of those recommendations made in its report submitted on December 31, 1996. The Presidential Advisory Committee on Gulf War Veterans’ Illnesses was terminated upon the issuance of its special report of October 31, 1997.
Are Gulf War Veterans Experiencing Illness due to Exposure to Smoke from Kuwaiti Oil Well Fires? Examination of Department of Defense Hospitalization Data
There has been much concern among the public and veterans that specific environmental exposures incurred during the Gulf War were the cause of subsequent illness among Gulf War veterans. In this historical cohort study, the authors compared the postwar morbidity of US military personnel exposed to smoke from the 1991 Kuwaiti oil well fires with that of unexposed personnel. Complete exposure and demographic data were available for 405,142 active-duty Gulf War veterans who did not remain in the region after the war. The authors used data from all Department of Defense hospitals for the period August 1, 1991–July 31, 1999 to estimate rates of hospitalization due to any cause, hospitalization due to a diagnosis in one of 15 major categories, and hospitalization due to one of nine diagnoses likely to be manifestations of smoke exposure. Exposures to particulate matter from oil-well-fire smoke were based on the integration of meteorologic data, diffusion modeling, and troop location data. The authors constructed seven exposure groups combining duration and amount of exposure. In Cox modeling, three of the 25 models showed an increased adjusted risk of hospitalization. However, there was no evidence of a dose-response relation. Despite some limitations, these data do not support the hypothesis that Gulf War veterans have an increased risk of postwar morbidity from exposure to Kuwaiti oil-well-fire smoke.
Since returning from the Gulf War in August 1991, some of the nearly 700,000 US military personnel who served in the Gulf have reported a wide range of symptoms that have been difficult to classify. Recent studies have demonstrated that Gulf War veterans are much more likely to report these symptoms than are their military peers, yet numerous research teams and expert panels have been unsuccessful in clearly implicating any specific Gulf War exposure as a cause of postwar symptoms. While the cause of these postwar symptoms remains elusive, researchers have not found evidence to suggest excess morbidity among Gulf War veterans, as measured by hospitalizations, mortality, or birth defects. Recent efforts to group symptoms reported by Gulf War veterans into a unique syndrome or symptom complex have also been unsuccessful, because the same statistically associated symptom groupings occur among both Gulf War veterans and nondeployed veterans. Medical experts have suggested that increased symptoms may be the result of battle stresses associated with serving in a war zone and that Gulf War veterans’ symptoms are consistent with those reported after previous wars.
Other studies have suggested that life in the military may be more stressful than civilian life for multiple reasons, including sudden and prolonged deployments, separation from family and friends, the threat of exposure to known and unknown chemical or biological weapons, the demanding operational tempo involving strenuous physical and mental exertion, and the pressure to become proficient at operating technologically unique weaponry under less-than-ideal weather conditions and other adverse environmental conditions. Although specific Gulf War exposures have been difficult to assess, several researchers have speculated that there are exposures unique to the Gulf War that may be associated with the increased symptom reporting. However, objective quantitative estimates of Gulf War exposures have been sparse. Recently, retrospective gaseous plume modeling permitted estimation of potential exposure to nerve agents following the destruction of a large weapons bunker in Iraq in March 1991. A study of Gulf War veterans’ hospitalization experience following possible ultra-low-level or subclinical exposures to nerve agents demonstrated no evidence of excess postwar morbidity among those possibly exposed. Just as there was concern about the potential health effects of possible exposure to nerve agent plumes, there is also concern that exposure to smoke plumes from oil well fires may be related to postwar morbidity or to increased reporting of symptoms. We examined the relation between possible exposure to smoke from oil well fires and subsequent health events by comparing the postwar hospitalization experiences of various Gulf War exposure groups.
Modeling of smoke from oil well fires
The Kuwaiti oil well fires began in February 1991 when Iraqi troops withdrew from Kuwait, setting fire to over half of Kuwait’s 1,000 oil wells. These fires continued burning until the last fire was extinguished on November 6, 1991. To address concerns over exposure to the Kuwait oil-well-fire smoke, the US Army Center for Health Promotion and Preventive Medicine, in collaboration with the Air Resources Laboratory of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, estimated 24-hour unit emission concentration values for 15- × 15-km grid blocks (a total of 40,401 grid points) encompassing the entire Gulf War theater of operations. As in previous estimates, the Air Resources Laboratory used the Lagrangian model termed HYSPLIT (Hybrid Single-Particle Lagrangian Integrated Trajectories).Meteorologic data from the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasting and the National Centers for Environmental Prediction medium-range forecast were incorporated into the HYSPLIT models. Meteorologic fields were modified to account for nonlinear radiative effects of the smoke plume on the vertical mixing of the pollutants.
Air concentrations were calculated on a fixed, three-dimensional grid by integrating all particle estimates over the sampling time period. Model computations of carbon soot smoke and sulfur dioxide air concentrations were compared with observations from several intensive aircraft measurement campaigns, as well as with long-term ground-based breathing zone measurements. The measurements and model calculations were consistent when the results were averaged over several episodes using cumulative frequency distributions. Since the HYSPLIT model estimated unit emission concentrations, a pollutant-specific emission factor exposure table was constructed. Using the HYSPLIT modeled data, we calculated daily particulate matter exposure values for each modeled grid point. This air dispersion modeling effort enabled us to use estimates of daily particulate matter concentrations in calculating possible troop unit exposures to the oil-well-fire smoke as the troops moved within the Gulf War theater of operations.
Health data from the Comprehensive Clinical Evaluation Program
In response to the health concerns of Gulf War veterans, the Department of Defense instituted the Comprehensive Clinical Evaluation Program on June 7, 1994. The Comprehensive Clinical Evaluation Program is a voluntary health registry established to evaluate health outcomes among Gulf War veterans who have remained on active duty, have retired from military service, or currently serve in the National Guard or Reserves. The main objective of the Comprehensive Clinical Evaluation Program is to document, diagnose, and treat conditions that may have appeared subsequent to service in the Gulf War theater. The program consists of a structured clinical evaluation protocol that includes a comprehensive medical history and physical examination. If necessary, veterans are referred to medical specialists or referral hospitals for additional diagnostic testing and/or treatment. Symptoms, patient-reported exposures, and clinical diagnoses are recorded for each participant. To ensure systematic and uniform medical evaluations, the program was initiated at 184 military health care facilities located in 39 states, eight foreign countries, and two territories, and it uses a standardized two-phase clinical evaluation process supervised by physicians who are board-certified in either family practice or internal medicine. Exposed and nonexposed veterans in our study were identified as participants in the Comprehensive Clinical Evaluation Program by merging of the program’s database with our study population. We included the available program data from June 7, 1994–February 28, 1997.
We chose to examine both broad and specific health outcomes for our analyses: hospitalizations due to any cause, hospitalizations due to major ICD-9-CM diagnoses, and hospitalizations due to specific diagnoses thought to be the most likely manifestations of intense exposure to smoke from oil well fires. Any-cause hospitalizations did not include non-illness-related categories, such as childbirth. The 15 major ICD-9-CM categories of interest included infections and parasitic diseases; neoplasms; endocrine, nutritional, and metabolic diseases and disorders of the immune system; diseases of the blood and blood-forming organs; mental disorders; diseases of the nervous system and sense organs; diseases of the circulatory system; diseases of the respiratory system; diseases of the digestive system; diseases of the genitourinary system; complications of pregnancy; diseases of the skin and subcutaneous tissue; diseases of the musculoskeletal system and connective tissue; symptoms, signs, and ill-defined conditions; and injury and poisoning. In addition to these broad categories, we examined specific diagnoses to avoid missing a risk difference due to the possible masking effect of aggregated ICD-9-CM diagnoses.
Prior to statistical modeling, we reviewed the published literature and identified the following specific diagnoses as possibly being associated with smoke from oil well fires and other types of smoke exposure: asthma; ischemic heart disease; emphysema; acute bronchitis; chronic bronchitis; bronchitis not specified as acute or chronic; malignant neoplasms of the respiratory and intrathoracic organs; malignant neoplasms of the oropharynx, nasopharynx, and hypopharynx; pneumoconiosis due to silica or silicates; pneumoconiosis due to inorganic dust; unspecified pneumoconiosis; pneumopathy due to inhalation of other dust; respiratory conditions due to chemical fumes and vapors; and other diseases of the respiratory system. To account for preexisting conditions, we identified any of these specific diagnoses made during a period almost 3 years prior to the start of follow-up. If a subject was found to have been hospitalized with one of the specific diagnoses of interest prior to the war, that individual was excluded from further analysis for that specific diagnosis.To ascertain hospitalizations occurring in our study population during the period August 1, 1991–July 31, 1999, we scanned diagnostic fields in numerical order for the ICD-9-CM diagnoses of interest. Only the first hospitalization for each of the targeted outcomes was included. Men were not considered for the “complications of pregnancy” category. Hospitalizations thus captured were categorized by exposure level.
In late February 1991, during Operation Desert Storm, more than 600 oil wells were ignited by the Iraqi army as it fled Kuwait. The resulting fires burned through November 1991, producing a visual effect of dramatic proportions. The global community feared profound changes in meteorologic patterns, significant environmental impact, and adverse health effects among those exposed to the smoke and pollution. Although the environmental consequences of the burning oil wells did not reach the proportions initially predicted, public concern over the possible health effects of exposure to the smoke plume remained strong and was fueled by early media reports of illnesses among Gulf War veterans. The potential long-term health effects of smoke-plume exposure have yet to be characterized.As part of our continuing efforts to assess plausible asso-ciations among potential Gulf War exposures and health outcomes, we examined the hospitalization experience of US military personnel potentially exposed to oil-well-fire smoke. These exposure-outcome relations were evaluated using Defense Department databases containing demographic, service history, and troop unit location and movement information linked with sophisticated geographic information systems smoke-plume modeling data. Our study allowed estimates of the degree of possible exposure to oil-well-fire smoke in 405,142 Gulf War veterans. The health events of interest for this group of veterans included hospitalization at any Defense Department treatment facility for any cause, hospitalization for any illness in one of 15 major ICD-9-CM categories, and hospitalization due to any of nine selected diagnoses over an 8-year observation period.
The thick oil-well-fire smoke plumes provided dramatic visual evidence of gross air pollution, with smoke being the most obvious product of combustion, as well as the most complex. Although smoke can be thought of as just partially combusted carbonaceous material, in reality it is a complex mixture of organic and inorganic compounds, such as sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, benzene, hydrogen sulfide, and acidic gases, as well as particulate matter. The health effects attributable to the known chemicals and particulates from oil well fires to which Gulf War veterans were potentially exposed have been previously reviewed. The seven exposure categories we created were assigned to military units operating in proximity to the burning oil fields, and the data were extrapolated to individuals attached to those units.Acquiring precise and reliable data on exposure at the individual level is one of the most challenging aspects of epidemiologic studies of this type. The limitations of epidemiologic studies that use group exposure data and individual outcome data have been discussed previously. Quantitative estimation of other known, potentially confounding behavioral and environmental exposures at the individual level was not feasible for this study. Thus, it is possible that exposure to tobacco use, fine desert dust, exhaust from diesel equipment, and other war-related exposures may have influenced some of the risk findings.The choice of hospitalization as the measure of health effects also had some inherent limitations.
Our analyses were limited to morbidity severe enough to require admission to a Defense Department hospital for inpatient care. Because outpatient data were not available, our study did not examine the full spectrum of health effects. Additionally, hospitalization data were only available for Gulf War veterans who remained on active duty or retired with medical benefits after the end of the war. However, rates of service attrition were found to be comparable across all seven exposure levels, including persons not exposed to the oil well fires. Previous studies have reported similar results when rates of attrition among Gulf War veterans were compared with those of their nondeployed counterparts. Furthermore, although the distributions of demographic variables across the exposure levels were similar, it is possible that personnel in direct combat roles, as a group, are more physically fit than support personnel and thus are less likely to be hospitalized postdeployment. This could explain why risk of hospitalization overall and risk for several major diagnostic categories tended to be lower in the exposed than in the unexposed. More research is needed in order to identify and quantify this effect. However, the fact remains that exposure to oil-well-fire smoke based on objective, quantitative data was not found to be positively associated with hospitalization. Lastly, the observation period of 8 years may not have been long enough for all long-term health effects of oil-well-fire smoke exposure to manifest.Despite these limitations, our study had a number of unique strengths.
To our knowledge, it was the first to study possible associations between exposure to oil-well-fire smoke and postwar hospitalizations. We used sophisticated modeling techniques to quantify and integrate data from disparate sources to estimate concentration and duration of exposure to oil-well-fire smoke. Hospitalizations are an objective outcome measure, in contrast to self-reported symptoms or illnesses. Hospitalization data are very complete for active-duty military personnel, because these persons have ready access to essentially free medical care in Defense Department facilities. Since active-duty personnel seldom seek medical care outside the Defense Department health care system, we are confident that we captured virtually 100 percent of the most serious health outcomes. In addition, our large study population permitted robust risk estimates, and the study had considerable statistical power to detect even small differences in hospitalization risk across exposure categories and among demographic groups. This makes it very likely that if true differences in hospitalization risk existed between exposed veterans and nonexposed veterans, we would have detected them.In summary, the results of this study do not support the theory that Gulf War veterans are at increased risk of hospitalization due to exposure to oil-well-fire smoke.
Using both broad and specific categories of health outcomes and searching for a dose-response effect, we found no evidence of an association, particularly a cause-effect relation, between exposure to oil-well-fire smoke and increased hospitalization risk. Our findings are consistent with those of other studies of health outcomes following Gulf War military service that have been carried out to date. The findings support the conclusion of the 1998 RAND Corporation review—namely, that adverse health effects would not be expected in Gulf War veterans as a result of exposure to the Kuwaiti oil well fires.
After doing extensive research on the government’s investigation of the Gulf War oil well fires, I have come to the conclusion that it was a whitewash. Have the government investigating its own cases of negligence, and malfeasance is like asking the fox to guard the hen house. You already know that the hens are going to get screwed. For the government to terminate their investigation so quickly after the exposure events is ludicrous. Everybody knows that the effects of environmental exposures can take decades to show up, case in point, Agent Orange. I have friends that fought in the Vietnam War and are still dealing with issues related to their exposure to Agent Orange. I have written several articles on tests run by the military on unsuspecting military personnel. (How We Sold Our Soul–Project MKUltra; How We Sold Our Soul–The Guatemala Inoculation Experiments; How We Sold Our Soul–The Tuskegee Syphilis Study; How we Sold Our Soul–Toxic Treatment: Fluoride’s Transformation from Industrial Waste to Public Health Miracle; How We Sold Our Soul–Project SHAD (Shipboard Hazard and Defense) )to name a few. They can all be found at https://common-sense-in-america.com/category/soul-series/.
Well, we obviously know better, Papa Sam while not a world-class athlete he certainly was in the top one percentile of the population. He had no respiratory issues, never smoked and rarely if at all drank anything more than an occasional bottle of beer. He ran on a regular basis with no reported issues of shortness of breath (SOB) prior to his repeated exposure to the Kuwaiti fires. He also was rarely sick, now he was catching the common cold and getting the flu all too frequently. For someone who prided himself on his running speed, now he was no longer able to do even a short jog with his dog without stopping to catch his breath and to rest up. So we know something happened to him while he was flying over the Middle East.
Now that we have exhausted the governmental studies on the well fires, let’s look at some independent data. I think you will be amazed on the differences. I also must interject that a lot of the data I have found for this book was simply not available for Grandpa Gordon and Papa Sam. Even though they did not have the data we have today, their legal team felt there was enough data to support Papa Sams claims, so they pursued the lawsuit. However, they were unsuccessful in pursuing their lawsuit against the government. I also want to stipulate that Papa Sam had received a general discharge under honorable conditions from the Air Force before he filed the lawsuit. In most cases, you are playing against a stacked deck. Our government has simply become too powerful to fight. That is one of the reasons that I am writing this book. I am using the vehicle of a fictional family to discuss various issues that are plaguing our citizens.
Papa Sam received a medical discharge. Medical discharges take place when a service member becomes ill or is injured during their military service and are now unable to perform the duties required of a productive member of the military. These separations are based on a medical evaluation. Most people who receive a medical discharge are entitled to VA benefits. If it is a service related injury or medical condition such as traumatic brain injury, combat injury, PTSD, or a chemical exposure, the individual may be eligible for disability benefits.
Oil well fires occur when oil wells catch fire and burn. Such fires may be due to natural effects like lightning, accidents, or human activity. The oil fire produces smoke that contains soot particles and other waste products that are harmful to human health and the environment.
What Happens When an Oil Well Burns?
During the Gulf War of 1991 between Iraq and Kuwait, fire from oil wells burned millions of barrels in a day. Smoke containing soot and other unburnt petroleum products was released into the environment. People then inhaled air containing compounds that are harmful to the human body. Those compounds included carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, sulfur oxide, and some volatile hydrocarbons that have the potential to cause health issues when they infiltrate the respiratory system.
Soot is the black powder formed after incomplete combustion. When released into the environment, it causes a haze decreasing visibility in the air. Also, other compounds like sulfur oxide and nitrate oxide that are released into the atmosphere react with rainwater to form acid rain. This acid rain has detrimental effects when it joins the natural water bodies like rivers and lakes.
What Are the Health Effects of Oil Well Fires on War Veterans?
An example of the health effects of oil well fires can be seen in the Gulf War veterans that were exposed to smoke and gas produced by oil well fires in Kuwait in 1991 during Operation Desert Storm. Their effect on the health of war veterans depends on factors like:
- How long you were exposed. When you come into contact with the smoke from oil fires for a long period, you are generally more affected than a person who has been exposed for a shorter period.
- How close you were to the fire and smoke. If you were too close to the smoke or fire, you will inhale more smoke and unburned particles.
- Type of gas and particles you inhaled. Some gasses, like sulfur oxide and nitrate oxide, can have very harmful effects on your health if you inhale them. They are known for their tendency to form acid when they come in contact with moist surfaces like your nose, which can eventually cause nasal irritation while you breathe.
Most veterans showed signs and symptoms of short-term health effects after their exposure to the oil well fires. The body has a natural defense mechanism that helps when cleaning such pollutants from the body to try and limit the impact felt. Some of the symptoms of exposure to oil well fires include:
- A running nose (excess drainage of thin or thick mucus)
- Shortness of breath
- Irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat
- Worsening of asthma and other sinus conditions
Research done on the victims of the oil well fires did not show many cases of long-term effects on their health. However, individuals who are at risk of getting long–term or chronic health effects from oil well fire exposure include:
- People that experienced acute symptoms during the time of exposure.
- Individuals who had breathing-related problems before the exposure incident
- People who were exposed to high levels of smoke particles and gas.
Some evidence was found to link the exposure of specific waste compounds to certain diseases in the human body. These compounds and the conditions that they were linked to are:
Medical review showed a clear relationship between the increase in brain cancer cases in the Gulf region and the exposure of the Gulf War veterans to the oil well fire, smoke, and gas. The effects on their nervous systems were visible, prompting a study on the effects of the chemical exposure on the veterans. Also, several compounds (i.e. bromide and sarin) known to cause adverse effects on the nervous system were isolated during operations.
What Are the Different Types of Oil Wells?
An oil well is a long hole drilled deep into the earth for oil and other gas extraction from below the ground. There are different types of wells, including:
- Conventional wells. This is the typical type of well. These are drilled straight downward to the point just above the oil or gas reservoir (e.g., a rock formation where natural gas and oil have been trapped).
- Horizontal wells. These are primarily drilled when the conventional wells do not give the required volume results. Here, the drill enters the reservoir horizontally. Horizontal wells are mostly used in combination with fracking drilling to get gas that is trapped in the rocks.
- Offshore wells. These are wells that are drilled on the ocean bed to extract oil and other petroleum products from a rock at the bottom of the ocean.
- Multilateral wells. These are wells that have branches off the main drill hole and tap into other reservoirs.
“OIL FIRES, PETROLEUM AND GULF WAR ILLNESS.” THE CDC CONFERENCE ON THE HEALTH IMPACT OF CHEMICAL EXPOSURES DURING THE GULF WAR 2.28.1999 – 3.2.1999.
Many studies and reports have been produced by the DoD and other
government agencies, all of which find no relationship between the oil fires and
Gulf War illness. As shown above, the primary reports contain serious flaws and
therefore cannot support the conclusion they advance. These primary reports
have been relied upon by the PAC and DoD to conclude the oil fires pose no
adverse risk to Gulf War veterans.
In truth, a large body of scientific evidence exists that links smoke and
petroleum inhalation and ingestion to many of the symptoms of Gulf War illness.
It would not be unreasonable to assume that half of the veterans with Gulf War
illness symptoms have the oil fires as a primary cause of the symptoms. This is
a simple and obvious conclusion given the reported exposures of the troops, the
limited air pollution monitoring done immediately after the liberation of Kuwait,
and the symptoms reported by Gulf War veterans.
The DoD needs to acknowledge the oil fires and petroleum exposures
constitute a significant cancer and non-cancer risk to the exposed Gulf War
veterans. An in depth toxicological evaluation needs to be done on the
petroleum and soot exposures to relate reported symptoms to reported
exposures. This toxicological evaluation should be independently done to avoid
DoD bias, which is clearly evident in the reports done to date. Diagnostic and
treatment protocols are needed to detect petroleum and smoke products in a
veteran’s body. Treatment protocols that address the continuing toxicity of
smoke and petroleum metabolites need to be developed. The current scientific
literature has research studies that indicate promising diagnostic and treatment
procedures. These research areas need to evaluated for applicability to the
veterans’ oil fire toxic exposure in the Gulf War. A self-reported questionnaire on
smoke and petroleum exposure needs to be developed and administered to
correlate exposure with associated symptoms.
The circle comes to a closure when the oil fires, which were the original
impetus for the Gulf War registry and research efforts, are acknowledged and
receive the research identified above that they properly deserve.
I have included a selective bibliography for the reader if they are interested in doing further research. Note in the book it will be included in the Appendix .
As I stated earlier in this chapter, the Anderson’s legal team was unsuccessful in their lawsuit against the Air Force. As far as I can ascertain through extensive research up to the time of my writing this book, there has been no successful lawsuit regarding the Burning Oil Wells or the Burn Pits. There just recently has come about a special benefits program for affected vets. This, however, did little for Papa Sam because he died in 2003. With the formation of this new expanded benefit, the military opened up a can of worms because its formation signified that there was and is a problem. So I think we will start seeing a new round of lawsuits being filed just like the ones being filed in regards to the drinking water in Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune.
I don’t know when the military will get their act together? If there is a problem, just deal with it instead of sweeping it under the carpet. If something happens that gives you a pause, then there is a good chance that it is not a good idea to keep on doing it.