Agent Orange Use and Impact in Vietnam: A Review

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Alvin L. Young Kristian L. Young

Abstract

Abstract

Physicians and other members of the medical community frequently are asked about “Agent Orange” and potentially “associated” health issues. The Vietnam War officially ended in 1975, but concerns over the legacy of Agent Orange linger to this day. Under the Agent Orange Act of 1991, the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) recognizes 14 diseases associated with alleged exposure to Agent Orange, its associated dioxin (TCDD) contaminant, and other tactical herbicides used in combat operations in Vietnam during the war. The medical community needs to understand why Agent Orange has become a national public health issue, and be prepared to respond to questions by veterans and the public. Although the Institute of Medicine (IOM) provided recommendations to DVA on the medical issues, they were directed by the Act to develop “statistical associations” for human diseases rather than to establish cause and effect relationships. No IOM report determined a consistent, coherent, and credible evidence of a causal connection between a disease and exposure to Agent Orange. The reality is that the current Agent Orange Policy is based on politics driven by public, media, veteran and congressional actions. Special evaluations and considerations must be given to the numerous health studies of our Vietnam Era veterans and what they have indicated. Perhaps we could have been fairer to all Vietnam veterans with a program of 'Vietnam experience' benefits rather than Agent Orange benefits. Greater efforts should have been made to study how societal pressures and politics have played a larger role than the efforts of the scientific and medical communities in providing health answers for our Vietnam veterans and the Vietnamese, all who now continue to suffer the lasting effects of war.

Article Details

How to Cite
YOUNG, Alvin L.; YOUNG, Kristian L.. Agent Orange Use and Impact in Vietnam: A Review. Medical Research Archives, [S.l.], v. 5, n. 10, oct. 2017. ISSN 2375-1924. Available at: <http://journals.ke-i.org/index.php/mra/article/view/1525>. Date accessed: 15 dec. 2017.
Keywords
Vietnam War, Agent Orange, Agent Orange Act of 1991, tactical herbicides, dioxin/TCDD, veteran health effects, environmental fate, Veterans Administration
Section
Review Articles

References

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