This IOM report presents the first updated review and evaluation of the newly published scientific evidence regarding associations between diseases and exposure to dioxin and other chemical compounds in herbicides used in Vietnam. For each disease, the IOM was asked to determine, to the extent that available data permitted meaningful determinations:
- whether a statistical association with herbicide exposure exists, taking into account the strength of the scientific evidence and the appropriateness of the statistical and epidemiological methods used to detect the association;
- the increased risk of the disease among those exposed to herbicides during Vietnam service; and
- whether there is a plausible biological mechanism or other evidence of a causal relationship between herbicide exposure and the disease.
In addition to bringing the earlier scientific evidence up to date, the committee has addressed several specific areas of concern, as requested by the Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA). These are the relationship between:
- exposure to herbicides and the development of acute and subacute peripheral neuropathy;
- exposure to herbicides and the development of prostate cancer, hepatobiliary cancer, and nasopharyngeal cancer; and
- the length of time since first exposure and the possible risk of cancer development.