The primary charge to this committee was to analyze the scientific and medical literature published on the health effects of herbicides used in Vietnam. Appendix A of the 1994 report contains a complete description of the methods used to perform literature searches, including a discussion of databases and keywords. Because this report focuses on reviewing literature published since the completion of Veterans and Agent Orange: Update 1996, databases were searched for articles published between 1995 and 1997. Indexing and critiquing of all other epidemiologic studies was performed by the committee with the support of Institute of Medicine staff.
Public meetings were held on June 19, 1997, in Washington, D.C., and on October 20, 1997, in Irvine, California, to solicit scientific information on the health effects of exposure to dioxin and other chemical compounds in the herbicides used in Vietnam during the Vietnam era. In order to reach a broad range of interested individuals, notices of the meeting were sent to members of veterans' organizations, Congress, government agencies, academic institutions, environmental groups, chemical companies, the pulp and paper industry, medical research associations, and other groups, as well as to those who attended the previous committees' public meetings in September 1992 and April 1995. At the 1997