Skip to main content
Consensus Study Report


Recently, World War II veterans have come forward to claim compensation for health effects they say were caused by their participation in chemical warfare experiments.

In response, the Veterans Administration asked the Institute of Medicine to study the issue. Based on a literature review and personal testimony from more than 250 affected veterans, this new volume discusses in detail the development and chemistry of mustard agents and Lewisite followed by interesting and informative discussions about these substances and their possible connection to a range of health problems, from cancer to reproductive disorders.

The volume also offers an often chilling historical examination of the use of volunteers in chemical warfare experiments by the U.S. military—what the then-young soldiers were told prior to the experiments, how they were "encouraged" to remain in the program, and how they were treated afterward.

This comprehensive and controversial book will be of importance to policymakers and legislators, military and civilian planners, officials at the Department of Veterans Affairs, military historians, and researchers.

Suggested Citation

Institute of Medicine. 1993. Veterans at Risk: The Health Effects of Mustard Gas and Lewisite. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.

Import this citation to:

Publication Info

448 pages |  6 x 9 |  Paperback
ISBN: 978-0-309-04832-3
Chapters skim
Front Matter i-xx
Executive Summary 1-8
1 Introduction 9-13
2 Methods of Literature Collection and Survey 14-20
3 History and Analysis of Mustard Agent and Lewisite Research Programs in the United States 21-60
4 Findings from the Public Hearing Process 61-70
5 Chemistry of Sulfur Mustard and Lewisite 71-80
6 Relationship of Mustard Agent and Lewisite Exposure to Carcinogenesis 81-111
7 Nonmalignant Respiratory Effects of Mustard Agents and Lewisite 112-130
8 Ocular Effects of Mustard Agents and Lewisite 131-147
9 Dermatological Effects of Mustard Agents and Lewisite 148-178
10 Other Physiological Effects of Mustard Agents and Lewisite 179-198
11 Relationship of Mustard Agent and Lewisite Exposure to Psychological Dysfunction 199-213
12 Summary of Findings and Recommendations 214-226
Bibliography 227-330
A. Scientific and Background Presentations Made to the Committee 331-334
B. Excerpt from The Residual Effects of Warfare Gases 335-337
C. Involvement of the National Academy of Sciences Complex in World War II Research Programs: A Summary 338-339
D. Excerpts from Chamber Tests with Human Subjects I, II, and IX. Naval Research Laboratory Reports Nos. P-2208 and P-2579 340-369
E. Interim Report and Addendum: Feasibility of Developing a Cohort of Veterans Exposed to Mustard Gas During WWII Testing Programs 370-377
F. Summary of the Department of the Army Report: Use of Volunteers in Chemical Agent Research 378-381
G. Public Hearing Announcement 382-385
H. Letter from Dr. Jay Katz to Dr. David P. Rall 386-389
I. Risk Assessment Considerations for Sulfur Mustard 390-398
J. Examination of the Effects of Certain Acute Environmental Exposures on Future Respiratory Health Consequences 399-416
List of Acronyms and Abbreviations 417-420
Index 421-428

What is skim?

The Chapter Skim search tool presents what we've algorithmically identified as the most significant single chunk of text within every page in the chapter. You may select key terms to highlight them within pages of each chapter.

Copyright Information

The National Academies Press (NAP) has partnered with Copyright Clearance Center's Marketplace service to offer you a variety of options for reusing NAP content. Through Marketplace, you may request permission to reprint NAP content in another publication, course pack, secure website, or other media. Marketplace allows you to instantly obtain permission, pay related fees, and print a license directly from the NAP website. The complete terms and conditions of your reuse license can be found in the license agreement that will be made available to you during the online order process. To request permission through Marketplace you are required to create an account by filling out a simple online form. The following list describes license reuses offered by the NAP through Marketplace:

  • Republish text, tables, figures, or images in print
  • Post on a secure Intranet/Extranet website
  • Use in a PowerPoint Presentation
  • Distribute via CD-ROM
  • Photocopy

Click here to obtain permission for the above reuses. If you have questions or comments concerning the Marketplace service, please contact:

Marketplace Support
International +1.978.646.2600
US Toll Free +1.855.239.3415

To request permission to distribute a PDF, please contact our Customer Service Department at

loading iconLoading stats for Veterans at Risk: The Health Effects of Mustard Gas and Lewisite...