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Between 1972 and 1982, approximately 1,500 to 2,100 U.S. Air Force (AF) Reserve personnel trained and worked on C-123 aircraft that previously had been used to spray herbicides, including Agent Orange (AO), during Operation Ranch Hand (ORH) in the Vietnam War. Samples taken from these aircraft show the presence of AO residues. However, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) considers AF Reservists who served in ORH C-123s ineligible for health care and disability coverage under the Agent Orange Act of 1991.
The VA asked the Institute of Medicine (IOM) to evaluate whether service in ORH C-123s could have exposed AF Reservists to herbicide residues at levels harmful to their health. In Post-Vietnam Dioxin Exposure in Agent Orange–Contaminated C-123 Aircraft, an expert IOM committee performs a qualitative assessment based on the science and evidence available. The committee’s key findings are summarized in this report.