Although 2,3,7,8-TCDD has been found to be extremely toxic to a variety of laboratory aminals, human epidemiology studies, where exposure to 2,3,7,8-TCDD has been less well characterized than in animal toxicologic studies, have been less conclusive in characterizing the extent of toxicity. In order to determine whether the newly refined techniques of human adipose tissue biopsy including isomer specific and sensitive measurement of PCDDs and PCDFs might be able to assist in finding populations within the same country with high and low levels of dioxins, adipose tissue samples were taken and levels analyzed from the north and south of Vietnam. It seemed reasonable, based on previous work, that high levels of 2,3,7,8-TCDD might still be found in adipose tissue in selected patients living in areas sprayed with Agent Orange and other 2,3,7,8-TCDD containing herbicides, and that lower levels should be found in patients not exposed to 2,3,7,8-TCDD from herbicides or other sources, such as persons who had always resided in the north of Vietnam. Of 9 specimens from patients hospitalized in Hanoi who had never been south, none had detectable adipose tissue levels of 2,3,7,8-TCDD at a detection limit of 2 or 3 ppt on a wet weight basis. Of 15 specimens from Ho Chi Minh City hospitalized patients the mean of positive specimens (12 of 15) was 28 on a lipid basis. The mean of the positive values from the south is about 2 to 3 times higher than found in the North American Continent control patients where the mean is about 6–10 ppt and much higher than in the north of Vietnam. In the northern specimens, the levels were non-detectable with a sensitivity of between 2 and 3 ppt. Other PCDD and PCDF isomers not found in Agent Orange, the penta- through octachlorinated dibenzo-dioxins and dibenzofurans, were similar in isomer type and quantity in the south of Vietnam to what we previously reported in North America. Adipose tissue from the north of Vietnam contained the lowest levels of four through eight chlorinated dioxins and furans thus far reported. The initial data suggests that populations exist in the south of Vietnam with elevated levels of 2,3,7,8-TCDD at the present time, fourteen years after the last known 2,3,7,8-TCDD (Agent Orange) application, superimposed on a preexisting body burden of dioxins and dibenzofurans from sources other than Agent Orange such as technical grade pentachlorophenol or products of incineration contaminated with higher chlorinated PCDDs or PCDFs. In light of the recent finding that unexpected levels of PCDDs and PCDFs exist in the general adult population of industrialized countries, ca. 1,000 to 1,200 ppt, wet weight of total dioxin and furan isomers in adipose tissues, it seems reasonable that the extent of human toxicity of dioxins may be more readily characterized in Vietnam than in industrialized countries. Because 2,3,7,8-TCDD was applied in 1962–1970, although not yet cleaned up, the levels of 2,3,7,8-TCDD in the environment, the food chain, and in humans, would be expected to decrease with time. Therefore, if studies are not initiated in a timely fashion, the opportunity to better characterize the extent of the toxicity of TCDD to humans as well as the persistence of TCDD in the environment in Vietnam may be lost.