Operation Desert Storm:

Potential for Reproductive Dysfunction Is Not Being Adequately Monitored

T-PEMD-94-31: Published: Aug 5, 1994. Publicly Released: Aug 5, 1994.

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GAO discussed possible reproductive dysfunction among the U.S. armed forces who served in the Persian Gulf War. GAO noted that: (1) the Department of Defense's (DOD) process for assessing troops' potential exposure to reproductive toxicants prior to the war was incomplete, since DOD did not assess certain compounds present in the troops' working environment; (2) DOD only assessed potential reproductive toxicants that were internal to the weapon systems and did not examine any external toxicants; (3) there were 21 reproductive toxicants present in the Persian Gulf region, but their exposure rates, toxicity, and reproductive effects are unknown; (4) DOD did not specifically direct its troop protection and education efforts at reproductive toxicants during the war, but its efforts to protect against other hazards may have minimized exposure to the reproductive toxicants; (5) oil well fires produced some reproductive toxicants and their unanticipated and widespread occurrence exposed a number of troops to the toxicants; (6) DOD and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) efforts to monitor Persian Gulf veterans are inadequate and do not address all forms of reproductive dysfunction; and (7) the lack of comparability between military reservists and other groups surveyed and poor methodology make study results unreliable.

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