Making Best Use of the Agent Orange Exposure Reconstruction Model

Type: Consensus Study
Topics: Military and Veterans Health, Environmental Health, Public Health, Select Populations and Health Equity
Board: Board on Military and Veterans Health

Activity Description

In 2003, an IOM committee concluded that a feasible model had been developed for characterizing veterans' exposure to Agent Orange and other herbicides used in Vietnam. The current study will advise the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs on the best ways to employ this model to investigate the long-term health effects in U.S. Vietnam veterans of wartime exposure to herbicides.

The study has the following charge:

A committee will be convened to provide the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs with advice and suggestions on the best ways to employ the Agent Orange exposure assessment model developed by Columbia University researchers in the evaluation of the long-term health effects of wartime exposure to herbicides. VA has requested that the committee include the following in their considerations:

    The relevant recommendations for evaluating the model contained in the 1994 report Veterans and Agent Orange. Approaches to evaluating the exposure model using existing data on health outcomes associated with herbicide or dioxin exposure among Vietnam veterans. The availability, quality, and usefulness of existing information on Vietnam veterans, including troop locations and health outcome data regarding diseases commonly associated with herbicide exposure (soft tissue sarcoma, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, Hodgkin's disease, or lung and laryngeal cancer, for example) as well as those not currently linked to such exposures (e.g., testicular, colon, or skin cancer). How such information might be used in studies that would become the basis of further epidemiological research using the exposure reconstruction model. The role of epidemiologic studies of Vietnam veterans using the new model in informing the evaluation of the association between herbicide exposure and health outcomes performed in the Veterans and Agent Orange-series reports.

The committee prepared a report describing its work and offering findings and recommendations.

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