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Senator Claire McCaskill speaking at the conference. Image source: Wikimedia commons
  • To help veterans who participated in mustard gas experiments, Senate of missouri plans to introduce new bill
  • An investigation revealed only 40 living veterans are currently getting benefits
  • According to McCaskill’s investigation, 90% of applicants claims have been denied by the US Department of Veteran Affairs

Senator Claire McCaskill of Missouri is pushing to introduce a new bill which aims help World War II veterans exposed lethal mustard gas.

The US military conducted a classified experiment in which veterans were used and sworn to secrecy about their participation in the experiment.


It is said that around 60,000 Army and Navy troops were part of this experiment. The Mustard Gas experiment sought to prepare US Military to face the gas in the battlefield. Those veterans were sworn to secrecy until 1991.

Many Serious Illnesses like leukemia, skin cancer and chronic breathing problems can be caused by the exposure of mustard gas.

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A person exposed to Mustard gas. Image Source: Wikipedia

This bill will be named after Arla Harrel, a man who is said to be the last surviving Missourian participated in the mustard gas experiment. At the age 89 Harrell lives in a nursing home and his claims for compensation have been repeatedly denied by The U.S department of Veteran Affairs (VA).

McCaskill’s office launched its own investigation and has found out that only 40 living veterans are currently getting benefits and the rest still have not received any compensation. According to the investigation a couple hundred veterans who took part in the experiment are still alive.

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Arla Harrel Act calls for establishment of a new policy for processing claims of the test subjects of this experiment and to reconsider all previously denied claims.

VA officials told NPR that McCaskill’s report is being reviewed by the agency and that it “greatly appreciates the service and sacrifices of every World War II Veteran, and any veteran who may have been injured in mustard gas testing.”

On Tuesday, McCaskill said that 90 percent of the claims by applicants have been denied by Veteran Affairs. Some even have struggled to get compensation for health issued caused due to the exposure. She said her bill will help the veterans but it is unclear that how many will get benefitted.

-by Bhaskar Raghavendran

Bhaskar is a graduate in Journalism and mass communication and a reporter at NewsGram. Twitter handle: bhaskar_ragha

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