Chemical Weapons Working Group
P.O. Box 467
Berea, KY 40403
606-986-7565 606-986-2695 (FAX)
for more information, contact:
Craig Williams, 606-986-7565
Paul Sullivan, 202-628-2700 ext. 162
for immediate release: Thursday, September 24, 1998
GULF VETS RENEW THEIR CALL FOR A HALT TO INCINERATION OF CHEMICAL WEAPONS; CITE NEW TOXICITY DATA
At the 3rd Annual Gulf War Veterans' Illnesses Conference, held in Washington, D.C. September 18-21, Gulf War veterans signed a Resolution calling for the Pentagon to halt its program of burning chemical warfare agents (CWA). Citing, among other things, the recent National Research Council (NRC) report which found the Pentagon's current "safe" CWA exposure standards to be inadequate and invalid, the Resolution stated that the Pentagon's incineration program, based on these invalid standards, is "not protective of veterans, workers, the general population and the environment."
"We have suspected for years that the Pentagon's exposure standards for these deadly agents were outdated and now the NRC has concluded that not only are they outdated, they are invalid, " said Paul Sullivan, Executive Director of the National Gulf War Resource Center, a coalition of over 50 Gulf War veterans' groups across the nation. "According to the NRC report, the Pentagon has known since at least 1994 that the standards are inadequate. It's time for the Pentagon to work with the Chemical Weapons Working Group and the National Gulf War Resource Center to ensure the adequate protection of soldiers and civilians. Incineration of chemical weapons must be stopped," Sullivan added.
In its call for an end to incineration, the veterans' Resolution states the connection between the low levels of uncombusted CWA particles routinely emitted from the Pentagon's operating incinerators and the low-level nerve and mustard agent exposures in the Gulf which an October 1997 Congressional report linked to Gulf War Illnesses.
The Resolution also cites the current alternatives development program and the acknowledged ability of alternative technologies to "contain all disposal residues until they are deemed safe for release."
"It's time for the Pentagon to finally admit that burning CWA places veterans, workers and civilians at unnecessary risk and to deploy instead technologies known to be safer and thus more protective," commented Craig Williams, spokesperson for the Chemical Weapons Working Group, a national coalition of groups supporting alternatives to incineration. "Despite the serious nature of low-level exposures to CWA, understood only too well by Gulf War veterans, the Army chooses to continue its incineration program as if there is no link between such exposures, Gulf War Illnesses and public health protection."
A copy of the Gulf War veterans' Resolution is available from the CWWG's office or click here.
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