Gulf War Syndrome is Prevalent within Civilians!

June 9th, 2004

Dear Mr. Paine,

Thank you for your coverage of the GAO report which confirmed that our vets were subjected to widespread exposures to various concentrations of toxic chemical contaminants. Your interview did not mention the second accusation by the GAO in addressing the neglect of our sick troops. They noted that the government was completely focused upon proving this disorder to be purely stress related and wasted funds on following that non-productive line of inquiry while ignoring hard evidence of the physical damage done to our soldiers.

The need to invent the fiction of “stress” leading hundreds of thousands of our strongest and healthiest citizens (at the time of their deployment), to suddenly transform themselves into ailing dependents of the state is more far reaching than a wish to deny disability claims. After all, we support those disabled by mental illness just as we do those sidelined by physical ailments if such a distinction needs to be made. Such an explanation would also be damaging to the military in its implications that we are deploying psychologically unfit personnel to dangerous duties.

No, the government denial of Gulf War Syndrome (GWS) as an organic illness is due to a much more far-reaching issue that will undermine industry profits, increase their liability for injuries to the military and civilian populations and redefine the nature of medicine as it is practiced today. GWS is a phenomenon which is is also harming civilians. Persons who never served in the military, may be suffering serious, chronic health conditions, exemplified in GWS.

These veterans show an increase in the frequency of certain infections (e.g. mycoplasma), also seen in the general population. They show a larger than normal incidence of deficiency for a protective enzyme (paroxonase), which is important in the detoxification of harmful chemicals and necessary to a variety of other vital health functions. This deficiency has been noted in about 15% of adults. Infants do not have this enzyme at all, gradually developing it as they grow. Yet studies show that nearly every civilian shows evidence of absorption of chemicals related to sarin gas (the organophosphate pesticides), in our blood and/or urine which demand the presence of paroxonase in order to minimize damage done prior to our detoxification and excretion/storage of such chemicals.

We are universally exposed to the pyrethroid insecticides that permeated soldier’s uniforms. We are urged to slather on the DEET they used (albeit at lower concentrations) and we take vaccinations with certain suspect ingredients that can stress our immune systems in similar ways to military personnel. Research at Duke University (Dr. Abou-Donia) and UT/Dallas (Dr. Robert Haley), has proven that such chemical mixtures can cross the blood brain barrier under and result in lasting harm.

Industry claims there are no adverse effects “proven” for each individual poison entering our bodies despite generating MSDS sheets which specify many adverse consequences are possible. They certainly cannot claim their products do not interact with other chemicals, even within their own product formulations. There is no denial of the suppression and/or depletion of our physiological defenses in processing these chemicals. The co-opting of our various immunological and detoxification systems which are supposed to be directed at maintaining our health and resistance to disease, constitutes criminal trespass of the highest order.

The result is large numbers of adults and children showing signs of neurological damage and patterns of illness not unlike that of Gulf War Syndrome sufferers. The correct diagnosis and treatment of widespread chemical poisoning of our civilian population by industry with the support of EPA/FDA regulators, can be expected to forever alter domestic policies in the near future.

What is done to one segment of our population is done to us all. Demand to know the true cost of service to our veterans and the cost of our constant exposure to the inadequately tested and under-regulated chemicals we ingest and absorb daily in dangerous combinations. Let us all follow the recommendation of the GAO and stop living in denial.

Barbara Rubin


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