New nerve gas worry for 10,000 Gulf troops

Up To 10,000 more British troops than previously thought may have been exposed to Iraqi chemical weapons at the end of the Gulf War, according to new research conducted by the CIA.

Its study, of the path of a chemical gas cloud which contained the nerve agent Sarin, released when weapons were destroyed, reveals the extent to which British and American forces came into contact with it.

The Ministry of Defence has never acknowledged that illnesses endured by Gulf War veterans were caused by chemical weapons, but this new evidence will raise further suspicions among veterans that they have suffered because of it.

The long-term effects from low-level exposure to Sarin are unknown, but short-term exposure can cause watery eyes, tightness of chest, muscle twitching, sweating and headache. Higher dosages produce incapacitation and result in death.

An MoD spokesman said: "The revised plume covered areas in which some British units would have been located. The MoD has been seeking to identify these in the light of detailed modelling information received from the US Department of Defense and contemporary records of British troop locations."

The American authorities are seeking to make medical assessments of an additional 80,000 US troops. The research suggests that thousands of British troops based north-west of Kuwait City, such as those with the 4th Armoured Brigade, which included the Royal Scots and the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers, and regiments of the Royal Artillery, may have been exposed. The MoD spokes- man said John Reid, the Armed Forces Minister, briefed Gulf veterans' representatives last week, but no decisions have been made on what action to take.

The CIA study concludes: "The number of troops who have been exposed to very low levels remain a concern. We need to understand, through our epidemiological and medical work, the effects of low-level chemical exposure for our veterans now and for the future."

It had previously been believed that the 400 or so members of 32 Field Hospital, based in Saudi Arabia, were the only British troops in the path of the gas cloud. Several among those working with 32 Field Hospital are now suffering from debilitating conditions, including chronic fatigue, irritable bowel syndrome, memory loss, asthma, emphysema, painful joints and non-specific rashes.

The CIA researchers attempted to replicate the Khamisiyah explosion at the military testing ground at Dugway, Utah. The Khamisiyah pit was detonated by the Americans on 10 March 1991. During the next three days the wind changed repeatedly, wafting the gases from up to 500 chemical rockets across the desert. After the tests, the Americans revised their assessment of the risk area from a 25km radius of Khamisiyah to a distance of up to 450km. The US Department of Defense still maintains that the risk is low. Questioning of 7,400 US troops, among those based closest to Khamisiyah, revealed 99 per cent had no physical effects related to Sarin exposure.

Terry Walker had been in a forward position with the Royal Army Ordnance Corps: "The alarms had been put away and the NBC [nuclear, biological and chemical warfare] suits were not being used," he said.

Mr Walker, 38, can no longer work. He has rheumatoid arthritis and experiences flashbacks. Although he has been offered a full war pension, it has not been linked to service in the Gulf.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
i100 In this video, the late actor Leonard Nimoy explains how he decided to use the gesture for his character
News
Robert De Niro has walked off the set of Edge of Darkness
news The Godfather Part II actor has an estimated wealth of over $200m
Arts and Entertainment
Fearne Cotton is leaving Radio 1 after a decade
radio The popular DJ is leaving for 'family and new adventures'
Sport
Robbie Savage will not face a driving ban
football'Mr Marmite' faced the possibility of a 28-day ban
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Voices
voices
Life and Style
Nearly half of all young people in middle and high income countries were putting themselves at risk of tinnitus and, in extreme cases, irreversible hearing loss
health Nearly half of all young people in middle and high income countries are at risk of tinnitus
News
It was only when he left his post Tony Blair's director of communications that Alastair Campbell has published books
people The most notorious spin doctor in UK politics has reinvented himself
Arts and Entertainment
arts + ents
Life and Style
fashion
Arts and Entertainment
James Franco and Zachary Quinto in ‘I Am Michael’
filmJustin Kelly's latest film tells the story of a man who 'healed' his homosexuality and turned to God
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Public Service Broadcasting are going it alone
music
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Sauce Recruitment: Retail Planning Manager - Home Entertainment UK

salary equal to £40K pro-rata: Sauce Recruitment: Are you available to start a...

Ashdown Group: Front-End Developer - London - up to £40,000

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Creative Front-End Developer - Claph...

Recruitment Genius: Product Quality Assurance Technologist - Hardline & Electric

£18000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The role in this successful eco...

Ashdown Group: QA Tester - London - £30,000

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: QA Tester - London - £30,000 QA Tes...

Day In a Page

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower