This report reflects the current body of knowledge on the use of pesticides, the levels of exposure experienced by various groups of Gulf War veterans, the potential health effects associated with these exposures, and the lessons learned on the use, application, and management of pesticides by military personnel.

Because of the unavailability of data in several key areas of the investigation, assumptions and estimates based on likely exposure scenarios were required to complete the health risk assessment (HRA) segment of this report. While following an accepted methodology, the necessary use of many assumptions to estimate exposure doses adds to the uncertainty associated with the HRA findings and conclusions, and reduces the scientific rigor normally found in analyses where definitive measurements are taken. As a result the HRA, as described in this report, cannot be used to prove either that pesticide overexposures occurred during the Gulf War, or that any connection exists between pesticide exposures and chronic health effects months or years after exposure. Conversely, the HRA cannot be used to reasonably assert that pesticides do not play a role in causing or contributing to some of the as-yet undiagnosed illnesses reported by some veterans.

These limitations notwithstanding the results of the overall analysis benefit our understanding of the issues related to the military’s use of pesticides. For example, a number of findings and conclusions reached in this report will not only benefit pesticide handling and management activities in future deployments, but will also provide some indication as to where DoD may wish to conduct additional research to better define health risks under conditions that previously may not have been suspect.

Conclusions relating specifically to potential health outcomes from pesticide exposures include the following:

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