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Limited data suggest possible association between Agent Orange exposure
Date:7/24/2009

TCDD during the war may face a higher risk for developing ischemic heart disease.

The committee's conclusion that there may be a relationship between Parkinson's disease and Agent Orange exposure stems from its review of 16 studies that looked at herbicide exposures among people with Parkinson's disease or Parkinson's-like symptoms. The finding was bolstered by several studies that have identified exposure to certain compounds similar to those in the herbicides used in the war as potential risk factors for the development of Parkinson's. The committee's review was hampered by the lack of studies investigating the occurrence of Parkinson's disease in Vietnam veterans specifically and the lack of animal studies testing the chemical components of Agent Orange for their potential to cause Parkinson's-like symptoms. The report strongly recommends that studies examining the relationship between Parkinson's incidence and exposures in the veteran population be performed. Parkinson's disease affects approximately 1 percent of people over age 60 -- some 5 million people worldwide.

In response to a request for clarification by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, the committee also affirmed that hairy cell leukemia is in the same category as chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) and lymphomas. Previous reviews in the series found sufficient evidence to state that there is an association between herbicide exposure and increased risk for CLL and lymphomas.

The report presents scientific data only and does not suggest or intend to imply policy decisions that the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs might make. Also, the findings relate to exposures and outcomes in broad populations; researchers' abilities to pinpoint the health risks faced by any individual veteran are hindered by inadequate information about military personnel's exposure levels during service in Vietnam.

U.S. forces sprayed Agent Orange and other defoliants over par
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Contact: Christine Stencel
news@nas.edu
202-334-2138
National Academy of Sciences
Source:Eurekalert

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