About Publications

Publications from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine provide objective and straightforward advice to decision makers and the public. This site includes Health and Medicine Division (HMD) publications released after 1998. A complete list of HMD’s publications from its establishment in 1970 to the present is available as a PDF.


  • Veterans and Agent Orange: Update 2010 : Health and ... Released: September 29, 2011
    Because of continuing uncertainty about the long-term health effects of the sprayed herbicides on Vietnam veterans, Congress passed the Agent Orange Act of 1991. The legislation directed the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to request the IOM to perform a comprehensive evaluation of scientific and medical information regarding the health effects of exposure to Agent Orange and other herbicides used in Vietnam to be followed by biennial updates. The 2010 update recommends further research of links between Vietnam service and specific health outcomes, most importantly COPD, tonsil cancer, melanoma, brain cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, and paternally transmitted effects to offspring. The only modification made in this update to disease entries in the categories of association is the notation that early-onset peripheral neuropathy (a condition which has been recognized since Update 1996 as having limited or suggestive evidence of an association with herbicide exposure and must have developed within a year of exposure) is not necessarily transitory.
  • Occupational Health Nurses and Respiratory Protection ... Released: August 02, 2011
    Occupational health nurses (OHNs) are front-line advocates for preventing illness and injury and protecting health in a variety of workplace settings, including the areas of agriculture, construction, health care, manufacturing, and public safety. OHNs need education and training in respiratory protection in order to ensure both their safety and the safety of America’s workers. At the request of the National Personal Protective Technology Laboratory of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, the IOM examined existing respiratory protection curricula and made recommendations to improve education and training in respiratory protection for OHNs. The IOM finds that current respiratory protection education receives varying amounts of dedicated time and resources and is taught using a variety of approaches. Several recommendations are made to improve the respiratory protection education and training of OHNs.
  • Climate Change, the Indoor Environment, and Health : Health ... Released: June 07, 2011
    Despite the considerable research on how climate change may affect public health, the impact of climate change on indoor environments has received relatively little attention. At the request of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the IOM examined the current state of scientific understanding of the effects of climate change on those environments. The IOM concludes that climate change can create indoor environmental problems and outlines specific ways for the EPA, other government organizations, and the private sector to prevent or reduce negative health effects from these problems.
  • Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans and Agent Orange ... Released: May 20, 2011
    The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has established that Vietnam veterans are automatically eligible for disability benefits should they develop any diseases associated with Agent Orange exposure—but veterans who served on deep sea vessels in Vietnam are not included. These “Blue Water Navy” veterans must prove they were exposed to Agent Orange before they can claim benefits. At the request of the VA, the IOM examined whether Blue Water Navy veterans had similar exposures to Agent Orange as other Vietnam veterans.
  • Certifying Personal Protective Technologies: Improving ... Released: November 11, 2010
    Millions of workers in worksites across the United States rely on personal protective technologies (PPT) to guard them against injury, illness, or death. At the request of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, the IOM examined the various approaches cur¬rently used to certify the effectiveness of PPT; to review the standards and regulations that cover PPT; and to assess the benefits of certification to worker safety.
  • Research Priorities for Assessing Health Effects from the Gulf ... Released: October 29, 2010
    It is as yet uncertain how the Gulf of Mexico oil spill will affect the health of clean-up workers, residents, and visitors in the Gulf. The IOM recommends that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services focus on researching psychological and behavioral health, exposure to oil and dispersants, seafood safety, communication methods for health studies, and methods for conducting research in order to better understand and mitigate the effects on human health for this oil spill and for future disasters.
  • Review of the Proposal for the Gulf Long-Term Follow-Up ... Released: October 08, 2010
    The Gulf of Mexico oil spill is unprecedented in its size and duration, as were the use of chemical dispersants and controlled burns to remove the oil. The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) is developing a study protocol to investigate the health effects on clean-up workers. The IOM held a workshop to review and comment on NIEHS’s study protocol.
  • BioWatch and Public Health Surveillance: Evaluating Systems ... Released: October 07, 2010
    In 2003, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) introduced the BioWatch program—a federal monitoring system intended to speed detection of specific biological agents that could be released in aerosolized form during a biological attack. A report by the IOM and the National Research Council evaluates the costs and merits of the BioWatch program, examines infectious disease surveillance through U.S. hospitals and public health agencies, and considers whether BioWatch and traditional infectious disease surveillance are redundant or complementary.
  • Assessing the Effects of the Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill on Human ... Released: August 10, 2010
    The 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill is unprecedented, and its effects on the overall health of individuals remain uncertain. The IOM held a public workshop June 22-23 to examine many factors that could impact how public health officials choose to monitor the potential health effects of the Gulf oil spill and related clean-up activities.
  • A Review of the NIOSH Roadmap for Research on Asbestos ... Released: October 29, 2009
    Prior and ongoing exposures to asbestos continue to contribute to respiratory diseases including mesothelioma, lung cancer, and asbestosis despite the fact that asbestos is no longer mined in the United States. To examine ongoing issues and concerns in this field, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) released a draft research roadmap in January 2009. In its 2009 report, A Review of the NIOSH Roadmap for Research on Asbestos Fibers and Other Elongate Mineral Particles, the IOM finds that NIOSH has put together a comprehensive and broad-based research Roadmap that could be improved through implementing a systematic and interdisciplinary approach to the outlined research.