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File: 061796_DOC_117_Health_Risk_Resulting_From_Kuwait_Oil_Fires_03.txt
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                                                            .-\ `~     �

                       UNITED STATES CENT~AL COMMAND                 -~
                      OI'L-IIA1~1ON DESERT SHIL-~W APO NY O9Oj2

                           April 8, 1991


  I have been asked to respond on behalf of GEN Scbwarzkopf to your
letter concerning health risks resulting from the Kuwait oil fires.
Air assessments have been made by multiple agencies including the
United States Army Medical Command, the United States Environmental
protection Agency, the United Kingdom Office of Meteorology, the
Kuwait Environmental protection Department, and the Saudi Arabian
Meteorological and Environmental protection Administration.      I am
happy to teil you that the air monitoring to date has shown lower
than expected levels of toxic gases and particulates from the oil
well fires.   In fact, the 24 hour average levels are well within
the United States Ambient Air Standards.

  Not all monitored parameters have been completed and studies are
on-going.  We all share the concern over possible long term health
effects,  but I think the comparison of this disaster with Agent
Orange is an unrealistic one.   Agent Orange was a toxic herbicide
designed to kill plants.   The smoke from the Kuwait oil fires is a
complex mixture of naturally occurring combustion products that can
be roughly compared to the air pollution problem in major cities in
the United States.  While no one can predict the future, we have no
scientific evidence of toxins at sufficient level to cause acute or
chronic disease of even a moderate degree.  cigarette smoking poses
a known and, in my opinion, a much greater risk to our soldiers.

  Our advice to all coalition partners exposed to the smoke plume
has been common sense advice.   We recommend avoiding heavy smoke
concentrations if possible, curtailment of exercise during times of
heavy smoke concentration, and covering the mouth and nose with a
cloth  or  dust  mask during  high smoke  times.      With the  Iraqi
acceptance  of  a  formal  cease-fire we  have  begun   a  systematic
withdrawal of our troops from Iraq and Kuwait.  While I cannot tell
you specifically when your husband's unit will be out, you can be
assured that it is the Number One priority on General Schwarzkopf's
agenda.   I share your pride and concern for our troops.     I also

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