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Gulf War Deployments

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Environmental Exposures
Chemical Agent Resistant Coating (CARC) Paint

CARC, used to paint combat vehicles and equipment, releases toluene diisocyanate (TDI) during the drying process. The health effects of TDI include acute airway irritation and sensitization ("isocyanate asthma"). Data from occupationally exposed civilian workers followed over time do not indicate a relationship between TDI exposure and chronic loss of lung function. In the Gulf, some civilian units and several support units may have conducted painting without required respiratory protection.

Clinical significance:Occupational asthma related to isocyanate exposure can develop in individuals with no prior history of asthma, and can sometimes be followed by more generalized hyperreactivity to other irritants. If evaluating an asthmatic patient, it might be useful to obtain a history of CARC paint exposure and type of protective equipment utilized, as well as degree of exposure. Spraying involves greater exposure; there are no known exposures associated with climbing on CARC-painted equipment and vehicles; painting outdoors with a brush has not shown to be hazardous...

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