House Bills Will Validate
GWI And Protect
Soldiers' Health Rights

WASHINGTON ( - Two bills were introduced in Congress Thursday to force the U.S. government to accept that Gulf War illness is real and caused by exposure to chemicals, and to give soldiers the right to refuse to be used as guinea pigs in the future.
Connecticut Republican Christopher Shays introduced the bills at the start of a hearing on overhauling the way medical trials are supervised.
"During the Gulf War, U.S. troops were forced to take pyridostigmine bromide, or PB, which, when combined with heat, exercise or exposure to other toxic agents present in the Gulf, could produce serious, chronic health effects," Shays said.
"Our investigation leads us to believe PB may be one of the key factors in the unexplained illnesses of many Gulf War veterans."
Shays chairs the human resources subcommittee of the House Committee on Government Reform and Oversight. It has responsibility for the Veterans' Administration.
The Pentagon's investigation into complaints ranging from loss of memory to chronic headaches by some 60,000 veterans of the 1991 Gulf War has found no common cause or hard evidence they were caused by Iraqi chemical or biological agents.
Shays' bill, the Persian Gulf War Veterans Health Act of 1998, would establish that exposure to chemicals in the Gulf during the war is responsible for the illnesses.
It would also make the VA commission an independent scientific panel that would check for health problems among Gulf War veterans.
The second bill, the Drugs and Informed Consent Armed Forces Protection Act, would require presidential agreement before the military could give drugs to soldiers without informed consent.
It would also require the Department of Defense to give written details about experimental or new drugs to troops before they are given the drugs. Current law only makes the department tell soldiers what they have been given within 30 days afterwards.

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