The Army’s clinical research with chemical-warfare agents arose out of a profound military and medical emergency: the birth of modern chemical warfare itself, amid the trench fighting of the First World War.
In 1993, the National Academy of Sciences published a lengthy study of the experiments and their long-term health effects. “Men who participated in the chamber tests commonly reported that they had originally volunteered to ‘test summer clothing’ in exchange for extra leave time before being sent overseas,” the N.A.S. study, “Veterans at Risk,” concluded. “It was not until they arrived at the test location that they were told about the gas chamber tests and, even then, many were not told to what agent they would be exposed.”
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