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Army Chemical Corps Vietnam-Era Veterans Health

The Army Chemical Corps Vietnam-Era Veterans Health Study is designed to learn if high blood pressure (hypertension) and some chronic respiratory diseases are related to herbicide exposure during the Vietnam War.

Background

This study follows a request by Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki for VA to conduct research on the association between herbicide exposure and high blood pressure (hypertension), as a basis for understanding if hypertension is related to military service in Vietnam.  VA is also interested in learning more about the relationship between herbicide exposure and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). 

This study is a follow-up of a similar study conducted between 1999-2000. We have examined the health status of individuals who served in the Army Chemical Corps since the 1990s.

Goals

Researchers have two questions:

  1. Is the risk of high blood pressure (hypertension) related to Agent Orange exposure during service in Vietnam?
  2. Is the risk of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), including chronic bronchitis and emphysema, related to Agent Orange exposure during service in Vietnam?

Participants

Researchers asked approximately 4,000 Veterans who served in the U.S. Army Chemical Corps sometime during the Vietnam era (1965-1973) to participate in this study.  Army Chemical Corps personnel were responsible for the maintenance and distribution or application of chemicals for military operations. Army Chemical Corps personnel who served in Vietnam during the Vietnam War constitute the largest group of Army Vietnam Veterans who were thought to have had the greatest potential exposure to herbicides.

We selected participants from earlier Army Chemical Corps study rosters, and researchers cannot accept volunteers for this study. Each Veteran selected for this study represents other Veterans with similar characteristics.

Methods

We conducted telephone interviews, collected medical records, and measured the blood pressure and lung function of participating Veterans. We are currently analyzing data for this study.

Investigators

Yasmin Cypel, Ph.D.
Han Kang, Dr.P.H.
Aaron Schneiderman, Ph.D., M.P.H., R.N.
Amii Kress, M.P.H.
Stephanie Eber, M.P.H.

Publications

Cypel Y, Kang H. Mortality patterns of Army Chemical Corps veterans who were occupationally exposed to herbicides in Vietnam. Ann Epidemiol 2010;20:339-346.

Kang HK, Dalager NA, Needham LL, Patterson DG, Lees PSJ, Yates K, Matanoski GM. Health status of Army Chemical Corps Vietnam veterans who sprayed defoliant in Vietnam.  Am J Ind Med 2006;49:875-884.

Kang HK, Dalager NA, Needham LL, et al.  U.S. Army Chemical Corps Vietnam veterans health study: preliminary results. Chemosphere 2001; 43:943-949.

Dalager ND, Kang HK. Mortality among Army Chemical Corps Vietnam veterans. Am J Ind Med 1997;31:719–726.

Thomas TL, Kang HK. Mortality and morbidity among Army Chemical Corps Vietnam veterans: a preliminary report. Am J Ind Med 1990;18:665–673.