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Post-Vietnam Dioxin Exposure in Agent Orange-Contaminated C-123 Aircraft (2015)

Chapter: Appendix B: History and Sampling of C-123s in the United States After Spraying Herbicides in Vietnam

« Previous: Appendix A: Public Agendas from Committee Meetings
Suggested Citation:"Appendix B: History and Sampling of C-123s in the United States After Spraying Herbicides in Vietnam." Institute of Medicine. 2015. Post-Vietnam Dioxin Exposure in Agent Orange-Contaminated C-123 Aircraft. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18848.
×

Appendix B

History and Sampling of C-123s in the United States After Spraying Herbicides in Vietnam

(Shaded entries are C-123s that were sampled for TCDD)

TABLE B-1 Operation Ranch Hand C-123s Identified in Historical Recordsa

UC-123 Tail #b Squadron Assignment, Museum/Year (if known) Fate of C-123
54-558 4500th ABW, MAP Sold to Royal Thai Air Force (Thailand), 1971
54-570 4500th ABW, MAP Sold to Royal Thai Air Force (Thailand), 1971
54-575 4500th ABW, MAP Sold to Royal Thai Air Force (Thailand), 1971
54-576 12th SOS (Vietnam, no date); 56th SOW (Thailand, no date); 405th Fighter Wing (The Philippines, no date); South Vietnamese Air Force (1971); MASDC (no date); AFLC (1972); MAP Sold to Royal Thai Air Force (Thailand), 1973
54-577 12th SOS (Vietnam, no date); 315th TAW (Vietnam, no date); Vietnam Air Force (no date); MASDC (no date); AFLC (no date); Air America (1973); MAP Sold to Royal Lao Air Force, 1973
54-578 12th SOS (Vietnam, no date); 56th SOW (Thailand, no date); MAP Sold to South Vietnamese Air Force, 1973
54-584 12th SOS (Vietnam, no date); 315th TAW (Vietnam, no date); Vietnam Air Force (1971); MASDC (no date); AFLC (no date); MAP Sold to Royal Thai Air Force (Thailand), 1973
54-586 12th SOS (Vietnam, 1968–1970); 315th TAW (Vietnam, no date); MASDC (1970); AFLC (no date); 911 TAG (PA, 1972); 731st TAS (MA, 1981); retired from service 1982 Destroyed at Davis-Monthan AFB, AZ, 2010
Suggested Citation:"Appendix B: History and Sampling of C-123s in the United States After Spraying Herbicides in Vietnam." Institute of Medicine. 2015. Post-Vietnam Dioxin Exposure in Agent Orange-Contaminated C-123 Aircraft. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18848.
×
UC-123 Tail #b Squadron Assignment, Museum/Year (if known) Fate of C-123
54-588 12th ACS Crashed/lost, Vietnam, 1962
54-589 12th SOS (Vietnam, no date); 315th TAW (Vietnam, no date); MASDC (no date); MAP Sold to Royal Thai Air Force (Thailand), no date; records show it was later destroyed in combat
54-591 12th SOS (Vietnam, no date); 315th TAW (Vietnam, no date); Vietnam Air Force (no date); MASDC (no date); MAP Sold to Philippines Air Force, 1970
54-597 12th ACS Crashed/lost, Vietnam, 1966
54-602 1st SOS Crashed/lost, Florida, 1968
54-605 12th SOS (Vietnam, 1966–1968), 315th TAW (Vietnam, no date); MASDC (1970); AFLC (1971); 907th TAG (OH, 1972); 355th TAS (no year); 356th (OH, 1973); retired from service 1984 Destroyed at Davis-Monthan AFB, AZ, 2010
54-607 12th SOS (Vietnam, 1966–1969); 315th TAW (Vietnam, no date); MASDC (1971); AFLC (1971); 1st SOW (FL, no year); 24th SOW (Panama, 1973); 907th TAG (OH, 1975); 355th TAS (OH, no year); 356th (OH, no year); 439th AW and 731st TAS (MA, 1976); retired from service 1982 Destroyed at Davis-Monthan AFB, AZ, 2010
54-611 12th ACS Crashed/lost, Loas, 1967
54-618 12th SOS (Vietnam, 1966–1969); 309th SOS (Vietnam, no year); 315th TAW (Vietnam, no year); MASDC (1970); AFLC (1971); ADTC (FL, no year); 302nd TAW, 906th TAG, and 355th TAS (1972–1981, OH); retired from service 1982 Destroyed at Davis-Monthan AFB, AZ, 2010
54-621 19th ACS Crashed/lost, Vietnam, 1967
54-628 12th SOS (Vietnam, 1966–1968); 309th SOS (Vietnam, 1969); 315th TAW (Vietnam, no year); MASDC (1970); AFLC (1971); 355th TAS (OH, no date); retired from service 1982 Destroyed at Davis-Monthan AFB, AZ, 2010
54-630 12th ACS Crashed/lost, Vietnam, 1967
54-633 12th SOS (Vietnam, no date); 315th TAW (Vietnam, no date); MASDC (no date); AFLC (no date); 1st SOW (FL, no date); 906th TAG, 907th TAG, and 355th TAS (OH, no dates); retired from service 1982 Retired for preservation—Museum of Aviation, Robins AFB, GA, 1984
54-658 12th SOS (Vietnam, no date); 315th TAW (Vietnam, no date); MASDC (1970); AFLC (no date); 24th SOW (Panama, no date); 906th TAG and 355th TAS (OH, no dates); retired from service 1982 Retired for preservation—Mobility Command Museum, Dover AFB, DE, 1987
Suggested Citation:"Appendix B: History and Sampling of C-123s in the United States After Spraying Herbicides in Vietnam." Institute of Medicine. 2015. Post-Vietnam Dioxin Exposure in Agent Orange-Contaminated C-123 Aircraft. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18848.
×
UC-123 Tail #b Squadron Assignment, Museum/Year (if known) Fate of C-123
54-693 12th SOS (Vietnam, 1967–1968); 309th SOS (Vietnam, 1969); 315th TAW (Vietnam); MASDC (1970); AFLC (1971); 1st SOW (FL, no date); 355th TAS and 356th TAS (OH, no date); retired from service 1982 Destroyed at Davis-Monthan AFB, AZ, 2010
54-701 12th SOS (Vietnam, 1968–1970), 309th SOS (Taiwan, 1969); 315th TAW (Vietnam, no date); MASDC (1970); AFLC (1970); 4500th ABW (VA, 1970); 906th TAG, 355th TAS and 356th TAS (OH, no dates); retired from service 1982 Destroyed at Davis-Monthan AFB, AZ, 2010
55-4511 12th SOS (Vietnam, 1968); 315th TAW (Vietnam, no date); MASDC (no date); AFLC (no date); MAP Republic of Korea, no year
55-4520 12th SOS (Vietnam, 1968–1969); 310th SOS (Taiwan, 1969); 315th TAW (Vietnam, no date); MASDC (1970); AFLC (1971); 51st ABW (South Korea, no date); 56th ABW (AZ, no date); 907th TAG (OH, no date); 356th TAS (OH, no date); retired from service 1981 Destroyed at Davis-Monthan AFB, AZ, 2010
55-4532 12th SOS (Vietnam, 1968–1970); 310th SOS (Taiwan, no date); 315th TAW (Vietnam, 1970); MASDC (1970); 24th SOW (Panama, 1970); AMARC (1970); AFLC (1971); 911th TAG (PA, no date); retired from service 1980 Destroyed at Davis-Monthan AFB, AZ, 2010
55-4547 12th SOS (Vietnam, 1968–1969); 310th TAW (Taiwan, 1969); 315th TAW (Vietnam, no date); MASDC (1970); AFLC (no date); 4500th ABW (VA, 1970); 906th TAG, 355th TAS, and 356th TAS (OH, no date); retired from service 1986 Destroyed at Davis-Monthan AFB, AZ, 2010
55-4570 12th SOS and 311th SOS (Vietnam, 1968–1969); 315th TAW (Vietnam, no date); MASDC (1970); AFLC (no date); 51st ABW (Korea, no date); 907th TAG (OH, no date); retired to AMARC (no date); MAP Royal Thai Air Force (Thailand), 1975 (currently located in Chiang Mai Museum,Thailand)
55-4571 12th SOS (Vietnam, 1968–1969); 310th TAW (Taiwan, 1969); 315th TAW (Vietnam, no date); MASDC (1970); AFLC (no date); 24th SOW (Panama, no date); 907th TAG, 355th TAS, and 356th TAS (OH, no date); retired from service 1986 Destroyed at Davis-Monthan AFB, AZ, 2010
55-4577 12th SOS (Vietnam, 1967–1968); 310th SOS (Taiwan, no date); 315th TAW (Vietnam, no date); 911th TAG and 758th TAS (PA, 1972); MASDC (1980) Destroyed at Davis-Monthan AFB, AZ, 2010
Suggested Citation:"Appendix B: History and Sampling of C-123s in the United States After Spraying Herbicides in Vietnam." Institute of Medicine. 2015. Post-Vietnam Dioxin Exposure in Agent Orange-Contaminated C-123 Aircraft. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18848.
×
UC-123 Tail #b Squadron Assignment, Museum/Year (if known) Fate of C-123
56-4362 346th TCS (NC, 1961); ORH (Vietnam, 1962); 4500th (“Patches”) ABW (VA, 1962); 315th Air Division Headquarters, 2nd Division (Vietnam, 1963); 377th CSG (Vietnam, 1966); 315th ACW (Vietnam, 1966 [converted to UC-123 in MD, 1968]); 315th TAW (Vietnam, 1968 [converted to insecticide sprayer—Operation Flyswatter]); 377th (Vietnam, 1972); MASDC (1972); 911th TAG (PA, no date); 901st TAG and 731st TAS (MA, 1972) Retired for preservation—US Air Force Museum, Wright-Patterson, AFB, OH, 1980
56-4368 464th TCW Crashed/lost, Vietnam, 1962
56-4370 464th TCW Crashed/lost, Vietnam, 1962
56-4371 12th SOS (Vietnam, no date); 315th TAW (Vietnam, no date); MASDC (1970); AFLC (1971); 906th TAG (OH, no date); 355th TAS (OH, 1975); retired from service 1982 Destroyed at Davis-Monthan AFB, AZ, 2010
56-4373 310th TAS Crashed/lost, Vietnam, 1971
56-4378 309th ACS Crashed/lost, Vietnam, 1966
56-4384 12th SOS (Vietnam, no date); 310th SOS (1969); 315th TAW (Vietnam, no date); MASDC (no date); AFLC (no date); MASDC (no date); MAP Year and country undisclosed
57-6289 12th SOS (Vietnam, no date); 315th TAW (Vietnam, no date); 405 Fighter Wing (The Philippines, no date); MASDC (1970); Vietnam Air Force (1971); AFLC (1973); MASDC (no date); MAP Royal Thai Air Force (Thailand), 1973
57-6291 12th SOS (Vietnam, no date); 315th SOW (Vietnam, no date); MASDC (1970); AFLC (no date); 302nd TAW, 906th TAG, and 355th TAS (OH, no dates) Crashed, Oklahoma, 1980

a C-123 aircraft tail #’s 54-583, 54-585, 54-635, 54-685, and 55-4544 were excluded from this table. Each of these aircraft were identified as Operation Ranch Hand planes in some recent historical documents provided by the VA (Young and Young, 2013, 2014a,b); however, although these C-123 aircraft were stationed with the 12th SOS in Vietnam (Operation Ranch Hand), the flight records for these aircraft do not indicate that they were used for herbicide missions (USAF, 2009a). Tail #56-4375, nicknamed “The White Whale” was used for VIP transport, not herbicide missions, and was also excluded from this table.

b C-123 aircraft tail numbers that are in bold were destroyed and recycled in 2010.

SOURCES: Information compiled from Alvin L. Young, A.L. Young Consulting, Inc., personal communication, May 5, 2014; Carter, 2013; Young, 2014; Young and Young, 2014a,b.

ABBREVIATIONS: ABW, Air Base Wing; ACG, Air Commando Group; ACS, Air Commando Squadron; ACW, Air Command Wing; ADTC, Armament Development and Test Center (Eglin Air Force Base, FL); AFB, Air Force base; AFLC, Air Force Logistic Command (Hayes Aircraft Facility, Napier Field, Dothan, AL); AMARC, Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Center (Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Tucson, AZ); CSG, Combat Support Group; MASDC, Military Aircraft Storage and Disposal Center (Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Tucson, AZ); SOS, Special Operations Squadron; SOW, Special Operations Wing; TAG, Tactical Air Group; TAS, Tactical Airlift Squadron; TAW, Tactical Air Wing; TCS, Troop Carrier Squadron; TCW, Troop Carrier Wing.

Suggested Citation:"Appendix B: History and Sampling of C-123s in the United States After Spraying Herbicides in Vietnam." Institute of Medicine. 2015. Post-Vietnam Dioxin Exposure in Agent Orange-Contaminated C-123 Aircraft. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18848.
×

TABLE B-2 Sampling of C-123s in the United States After Spraying Herbicides in Vietnam

Date Event Plane Sampling Other
03/09/1979 (Report dated 09/1979) Sampling—Westover AFB (to determine the source of bad odors) “Patches”

3 Air Samples—(2,4-D and 2,4,5-T = 0.243 mg/m3 to 0.428 mg/m3); TLV = 10 mg/m3

1 Paint Scraping from cargo tie-down rings (& 1 residue sample lost) (detection limit 60 µg/kg) 2,4-D = < 60 µg/kg; 2,4,5-T = < 60 µg/kg

  • 2,4-D Butyl Ester µg/kg (AO) = < 60
  • 2,4-D Isooctyl Ester µg/kg (AOII) ≈ 92
  • 2,4,5-T Butyl Ester µg/kg (AO) ≈149
  • 2,4,5-T Isooctyl Ester µg/kg (AOII) = < 60 Malathion µg/kg ≈ 145
Malathion ≈ 145 µg/kg Black residue found in wing was malathion
1994 (date samples taken unclear, request for samples in September; first discussed November 1994) Wright-Patterson AFB Museum Annex “Patches”

Swipes:

2,3,7,8-TCDD (nanograms/sample):
[interior 200 ng/m2 , 1400 ng/m2]
Interior (midship), 14.22098 (TEQ, 14.458)
Interior (tail), 2.06846 (TEQ, 2.152)
Interior (tail), 2.40728 (TEQ, 2.491)
Exterior (wing), 0.04015 (TEQ, 0.041 [4.1 ng/m2])
Exterior (wing), 0.00255 (TEQ, 0.003 [0.3 ng/m2])
Also values for PCDD, PCDF, etc.

Document describes plane as “highly contaminated” (Samples analyzed by Pace Incorporated Environmental Laboratories)
Suggested Citation:"Appendix B: History and Sampling of C-123s in the United States After Spraying Herbicides in Vietnam." Institute of Medicine. 2015. Post-Vietnam Dioxin Exposure in Agent Orange-Contaminated C-123 Aircraft. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18848.
×
Date Event Plane Sampling Other
09/13/1995 Sampling—Wright-Patterson AFB Museum Annex (sampling done by OHM Remediation Services, Corp.) “Patches”

49 surface wipes (TCDD)

Composite A2: 0 ng/600 cm2Interior Front Port

Composite A3: 3.2 ng/400 cm2 [53 ng/m2] (figures as noted in Appendix B, corrected from 3.2 ng/600 cm2) Inside inspection ports on rear bottom of aircraft (exterior) (described in 11/17 memo as rear of cargo bay); report says “inspection ports which tested positive are below the same area of the interior which was hot”

Composite A5: 0 ng/600 cm2Interior Front Starboard

Composite A6: 0 ng/600 cm2Interior Center Port

Composite A7: 0 ng/600 cm2Interior Center Starboard

Composite A8 1.8 ng/600 cm2 [45 ng/m2] (figures as noted in Appendix B, corrected from 1.8 ng/400 cm2) Interior Rear (rear interior of cargo bay)

No dioxin found on exterior of plane or spray equipment

WESTON Laboratories (ng/m2 measurements from UC = 123K Sampling and Analysis Plan, February 2009)
 
11/17/1995 Wright-Patterson AFB Museum Annex (proposal for decontamination) “Patches” A proposal OHM Remediation Services, Corp.—once aircraft wiped down 3 times, “175 wipe samples will be taken plus 10 percent for quality control”  
Suggested Citation:"Appendix B: History and Sampling of C-123s in the United States After Spraying Herbicides in Vietnam." Institute of Medicine. 2015. Post-Vietnam Dioxin Exposure in Agent Orange-Contaminated C-123 Aircraft. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18848.
×
07/1996 Wright-Patterson AFB Museum Annex (proposal for decontamination) “Patches” New proposal from OHM Remediation Services, Corp.—16 wipe samples will be taken including those for quality control, proposes to composite the wipes from designated sections of the grid before analysis is performed by USEPA Method 8280; four composite samples will be analyzed, representing a 2,500 cm2 area  
 
09/1996 Sampling 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group (AMARG—formerly AMARC), Davis-Monthan AFB, AZ 17 planes (5 without documentation of service in Operation Ranch Hand) 17 planes swipe sampled for 2,4-D and 2,4,5-T prior to sale; 2 samples per plane (from inboard spray fittings and floor underneath fittings). Swipes collected on moist Whatman glass filters from 6 × 6 areas “of the floor located under the spray line caps” and “inside the spray line” 14 of 17 samples had detectable herbicides (2.2 µg/swipe to 960 µg/swipe)  
 
02/1997 Wright-Patterson AFB Museum Annex “Patches” Memo stating that “Patches” is now washed and de-contaminated and open for employee and public access (aircraft sampled by OHM Remediation Services, Corp. after cleaning . . . no dioxin contamination detected [cleanup action level of 25 ng/m2])  
 
         
Suggested Citation:"Appendix B: History and Sampling of C-123s in the United States After Spraying Herbicides in Vietnam." Institute of Medicine. 2015. Post-Vietnam Dioxin Exposure in Agent Orange-Contaminated C-123 Aircraft. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18848.
×
Date Event Plane Sampling Other
02/18–19/2009 (USAF, 2009b) AMARG 4 Planes Tail #’s 54-585 (no detect in 1996) (herbicide sprayer but not RH according to AMARG and Dr. Paul Cecil); 55-4571 (> 25 µg/wipe, 1996) (RH according to AMARG); 55-4532 (> 25 µg/wipe 1996) (RH according to AMARG); 55-4544 (no detect in 1996) (herbicide sprayer but not RH according to AMARG and Dr. Paul Cecil)

124 wipe samples (not including 2 lost samples); 100 square cm area, hexane used for dioxin/furan samples and water for herbicide samples

Wipe Sampling Results:
No detectable AO constituents on exterior

  • 2,4-D and 2,4,5-T—very low, no significant risk (1,600 and 1100 µg/m2, respectively) (level of concern, 100,000 µg/m)
  • 2,4-D (55-4571): 587 µg/m2; 95% UCL = 911 µg/m2 in interior
  • 2,4-D (55-4532): 453 µg/m2; 95% UCL = 781 µg/m2 in interior
  • 2,4,5-T (55-4571): 518 µg/m2; 95% UCL = 698 µg/m2 in interior
  • 2,4, 5-T (55-4532): 502 µg/m2; 95% UCL = 815 µg/m2 in interior

2 aircraft (55-4544, 54-0585) had trace levels of dioxin/furans on interior floor locations (max 3.9 ng/m2 TEQ [risk-based screening level value, 23 ng/m2]) and non-detect levels or all other surfaces
2 aircraft had low level dioxin/furans on all interior surfaces (55-4571—14.95 ng/m2 TEQ; 5504532—18.2 ng/m2 TEQ with 95% UCLs of 21.7 and 24.7 ng/m2); considered to have low-level contamination that does not pose a risk for personnel for recycling activities.
Levels inside spray tank were very high

Samples conducted to obtain data “to assess what controls (if any, may be needed to ensure protection of the health and safety of recycling personnel”

Samples set to TestAmerica analytical laboratories
     

16 air samples: 2,4-D and 2,4,5-T collected in fuselage with pump and glass fiber filter at a rate of 2L/minute for 60 minutes. Dioxins/furans collected on a foam plug at 4L/minute for ~ 4 hours (testing for conditions for unprotected workers cleaning out debris from planes … not flying in planes. Air Sampling Results: No detectable AO constituents in any air samples

 
Suggested Citation:"Appendix B: History and Sampling of C-123s in the United States After Spraying Herbicides in Vietnam." Institute of Medicine. 2015. Post-Vietnam Dioxin Exposure in Agent Orange-Contaminated C-123 Aircraft. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18848.
×

NOTES: 2,4-D, 2,4-dichlorophenoxy acetic acid; 2,4,5-T, 2,4,5-trichlorophenoxyacetic acid; AFB, Air Force Base; AMARC, Aircraft Maintenance and Regeneration Center; AMARG, Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group; AO, Agent Orange (50% n-butyl ester of 2,4-D, 50% n-butyl ester of 2,4,5-T); AOII, Agent Orange II (50% n-butyl ester of 2,4-D, 50% n-isooctyl ester of 2,4,5-T); MASDC, Military Aircraft Storage and Disposal Center; nd, not detected; PCDD, polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxin; PCDF, polychlorinated dibenzofuran; RH, Ranch Hand; TCDD, 2,3,7,8-trichlorodibenzo- p-dioxin; TEQ, Toxicity Equivalency Quotient; USAF, United States Air Force; USEPA, United States Environmental Protection Agency. AMARG refers to the 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group, often called The Boneyard, is a US Air Force aircraft and missile storage and maintenance facility in Tucson, Arizona, located on Davis-Monthan Air Force Base. AMARG was previously Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Center, AMARC, the Military Aircraft Storage and Disposal Center, MASDC, and started life after World War II as the 3040th Aircraft Storage Group.

Suggested Citation:"Appendix B: History and Sampling of C-123s in the United States After Spraying Herbicides in Vietnam." Institute of Medicine. 2015. Post-Vietnam Dioxin Exposure in Agent Orange-Contaminated C-123 Aircraft. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18848.
×
Page 91
Suggested Citation:"Appendix B: History and Sampling of C-123s in the United States After Spraying Herbicides in Vietnam." Institute of Medicine. 2015. Post-Vietnam Dioxin Exposure in Agent Orange-Contaminated C-123 Aircraft. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18848.
×
Page 92
Suggested Citation:"Appendix B: History and Sampling of C-123s in the United States After Spraying Herbicides in Vietnam." Institute of Medicine. 2015. Post-Vietnam Dioxin Exposure in Agent Orange-Contaminated C-123 Aircraft. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18848.
×
Page 93
Suggested Citation:"Appendix B: History and Sampling of C-123s in the United States After Spraying Herbicides in Vietnam." Institute of Medicine. 2015. Post-Vietnam Dioxin Exposure in Agent Orange-Contaminated C-123 Aircraft. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18848.
×
Page 94
Suggested Citation:"Appendix B: History and Sampling of C-123s in the United States After Spraying Herbicides in Vietnam." Institute of Medicine. 2015. Post-Vietnam Dioxin Exposure in Agent Orange-Contaminated C-123 Aircraft. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18848.
×
Page 95
Suggested Citation:"Appendix B: History and Sampling of C-123s in the United States After Spraying Herbicides in Vietnam." Institute of Medicine. 2015. Post-Vietnam Dioxin Exposure in Agent Orange-Contaminated C-123 Aircraft. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18848.
×
Page 96
Suggested Citation:"Appendix B: History and Sampling of C-123s in the United States After Spraying Herbicides in Vietnam." Institute of Medicine. 2015. Post-Vietnam Dioxin Exposure in Agent Orange-Contaminated C-123 Aircraft. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18848.
×
Page 97
Suggested Citation:"Appendix B: History and Sampling of C-123s in the United States After Spraying Herbicides in Vietnam." Institute of Medicine. 2015. Post-Vietnam Dioxin Exposure in Agent Orange-Contaminated C-123 Aircraft. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18848.
×
Page 98
Suggested Citation:"Appendix B: History and Sampling of C-123s in the United States After Spraying Herbicides in Vietnam." Institute of Medicine. 2015. Post-Vietnam Dioxin Exposure in Agent Orange-Contaminated C-123 Aircraft. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18848.
×
Page 99
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From 1972 to 1982, approximately 1,500-2,100 US Air Force Reserve personnel trained and worked on C-123 aircraft that had formerly been used to spray herbicides in Vietnam as part of Operation Ranch Hand. After becoming aware that some of the aircraft on which they had worked had previously served this purpose, some of these AF Reservists applied to the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) for compensatory coverage under the Agent Orange Act of 1991. The Act provides health care and disability coverage for health conditions that have been deemed presumptively service-related for herbicide exposure during the Vietnam War. The VA denied the applications on the basis that these veterans were ineligible because as non-Vietnam-era veterans or as Vietnam-era veterans without "boots on the ground" service in Vietnam, they were not covered. However, with the knowledge that some air and wipe samples taken between 1979 and 2009 from some of the C-123s used in Operation Ranch Hand showed the presence of agent orange residues, representatives of the C-123 Veterans Association began a concerted effort to reverse VA's position and obtain coverage.

At the request of the VA, Post-Vietnam Dioxin Exposure in Agent Orange-Contaminated C-123 Aircraft evaluates whether or not service in these C-123s could have plausibly resulted in exposures detrimental to the health of these Air Force Reservists. The Institute of Medicine assembled an expert committee to address this question qualitatively, but in a scientific and evidence-based fashion. This report evaluates the reliability of the available information for establishing exposure and addresses and places in context whether any documented residues represent potentially harmful exposure by characterizing the amounts available and the degree to which absorption might be expected. Post-Vietnam Dioxin Exposure rejects the idea that the dioxin residues detected on interior surfaces of the C-123s were immobile and effectively inaccessible to the Reservists as a source of exposure. Accordingly, this report states with confidence that the Air Force Reservists were exposed when working in the Operation Ranch Hand C-123s and so experienced some increase in their risk of a variety of adverse responses.

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