effects of wartime exposure to herbicides. This report presents the conclusions and recommendations of the IOM study committee convened to provide this guidance to VA.


The IOM study requested by VA has the following Statement of Task:

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 will prepare a report describing its work and offering findings and recommendations.

The study committee was selected to include members with expertise in environmental and occupational epidemiology, exposure assessment, environmental health, environmental chemistry, biostatistics, and access to archived military records.

The committee met in person four times from March 2007 through August 2007. During these meetings, the committee reviewed and discussed the existing research literature on the topics central to its charge and received information from oral presentations made by the researchers who developed the exposure assessment model, by researchers studying

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