In February 1992, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) of the National Academy of Sciences signed an agreement with the Veterans Administration (VA) to review and summarize the strength of the scientific evidence concerning the association between herbicide exposure during Vietnam service and each disease or condition suspected to be associated with such exposure. The IOM was also asked to make recommendations concerning the need, if any, for additional scientific studies to resolve areas of continuing scientific uncertainty and to comment on four particular programs mandated in Public Law 102-4.
In conducting its study, the committee operated independently of the VA and other government agencies. The committee was not asked to and did not make judgments regarding specific cases in which individual Vietnam veterans have claimed injury from herbicide exposure; this was not part of its congressional charge. Rather, the study provides scientific information for the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to consider as the VA exercises its responsibilities to Vietnam veterans.