The Air Force Health Study: An Epidemiologic Retrospective
ABSTRACT In 1979, the U.S. Air Force announced that an epidemiologic study would be undertaken to determine whether the Air Force personnel involved in Operation Ranch Hand-the program responsible for herbicide spraying in Vietnam-had experienced adverse health effects as a result of that service. In January 1982 the Air Force Health Study (AFHS) protocol was approved and the 20 year matched cohort study consisting of independent mortality, morbidity and reproductive health components was initiated. This controversial study has been criticized regarding the study's potential scientific limitations as well as some of the administrative aspects of its conduct. Now, almost 30 years since the implementation of the AFHS and nearly a decade since the final follow up examinations, an appraisal of the study indicates that the results of the AFHS do not provide evidence of disease in the Ranch Hand veterans caused by their elevated levels of exposure to Agent Orange.
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ABSTRACT: Using validated models and methods routinely employed by pesticide regulatory agencies, the absorbed dosages of Agent Orange (AO) herbicide contaminant 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD) were estimated for mixer/loaders, applicators, and individuals in the vicinity of applications of AO by C-123 aircraft during the Vietnam War. Resulting dosages of TCDD were then transformed to estimates of adipose residues, and compared to population biomonitoring of known mixer/loaders and applicators as well as ground troops in Vietnam and civilians in the U.S. Results demonstrate that mixer/loaders and applicators had the greatest exposures and their measured residues of TCDD in adipose were consistent with the estimated exposures. Further, the potentially exposed ground troops, including those who could have been directly sprayed during aerial defoliation, had measured adipose residues that were consistent with those in civilian U.S. populations with no defined source of exposure exposures and both of those cohorts had orders of magnitude less exposure than the mixer/loaders or applicators. Despite the availability of validated exposure modeling methods for decades, the quantitative TCDD dose estimates presented here are the first of their kind for the Vietnam conflict. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.Science of The Total Environment 10/2014; 505C:514-525. DOI:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2014.10.005
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ABSTRACT: We systematically evaluated studies published through May 2014 in which investigators assessed the dose-response relationship between serum levels of 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD) and the occurrence of diabetes mellitus (DM), and we investigated the extent and sources of interstudy heterogeneity. The dose-response relationship between serum TCDD and DM across studies was examined using 2 dependent variables: an exposure level-specific proportion of persons with DM and a corresponding natural log-transformed ratio measure of the association between TCDD and DM. Regression slopes for each dependent variable were obtained for each study and included in a random-effects meta-analysis. Sensitivity analyses were used to assess the influence of inclusion and exclusion decisions, and sources of heterogeneity were explored using meta-regression models and a series of subanalyses. None of the summary estimates in the main models or in the sensitivity analyses indicated a statistically significant association. We found a pronounced dichotomy: a positive dose-response in cross-sectional studies of populations with low-level TCDD exposures (serum concentrations <10 pg/g lipid) and heterogeneous, but on balance null, results for prospective studies of persons with high prediagnosis TCDD body burdens. Considering the discrepancy of results for low current versus high past TCDD levels, the available data do not indicate that increasing TCDD exposure is associated with an increased risk of DM. © The Author 2015. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.American Journal of Epidemiology 03/2015; 181(6). DOI:10.1093/aje/kwu307
International Journal of Epidemiology 12/2014; 43(6):1671-1677. DOI:10.1093/ije/dyu230