2002.02.27 I.O.M Report: Veterans and Agent Orange: Herbicide/Dioxin Exposure and Acute Myelogenous Leukemia in the Children of Vietnam Veterans

Released: February 27, 2002

In 1999, in response to a request from the Department of Veterans Affairs, IOM called together a committee to conduct an interim review of the scientific evidence regarding one of the conditions addressed in the Veterans and Agent Orange series of reports: Type 2 diabetes. The committee consisted of individuals responsible for the Update 1998 report plus recognized experts in the field of Type 2 diabetes. They conducted two workshops to hear researchers in the field present information on their past and ongoing investigations, and reviewed material published since the deliberations of the Update 1998 committee.

This review found inadequate or insufficient evidence to determine if an association exists between exposure to the herbicides used in Vietnam or their contaminants and acute myelogenous leukemia (AML) in the children of Vietnam veterans. This is a change in classification from the recent Veterans and Agent Orange: Update 2000 report, which found limited/suggestive evidence for such an association.

The prior IOM review founded its conclusion in part on a report from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare that looked at the incidence of AML in the children of Australian veterans of the Vietnam War. The Australian study was later found to have contained a miscalculation that led its authors to incorrectly conclude that these children faced a significantly greater risk of AML than children in the general population did. The revised analysis found that the incidence of the illness was within the range that might be expected in the general population. The committee also considered new evidence from German and Norwegian studies of AML in the offspring of parents who had occupational exposure to pesticides. Neither study found a significant difference in incidence from unexposed populations.

Original Sourcenationalacademies.org


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