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Army Chemical Corps Vietnam-Era Veterans Health

The Army Chemical Corps Vietnam-Era Veterans Health Study (2012-2013) is designed to learn if high blood pressure (hypertension) and some chronic respiratory diseases are related to herbicide exposure during the Vietnam War.

Latest update: Among U.S. Army Chemical Corps Veterans, VA researchers found an association between both hypertension risk and exposure to herbicides, and hypertension risk and military service in Vietnam. Other findings from this study will be published in the future. VA would like to thank everyone who participated in this important study.

Background

This study follows a request by former 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). 

similar study was conducted between 1999-2000.

Goals

Researchers have two questions:

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

Participants

Researchers asked approximately 4,000 Veterans who served in the U.S. Army Chemical Corps during the Vietnam era (1965-1973) to participate in this three phase 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 one of the largest groups of Vietnam Veterans who were thought to have had the greatest potential exposure to herbicides.

Methods

Researchers surveyed participating Veterans nationwide by mail or telephone to collect information on their health and heatlh-related behaviors, collected their medical records, and medical technicians measured Veterans' blood pressure and lung function during in-home physical examinations.

Results

A paper on the research findings related to hypertension risk was published in 2016 for this study, and researchers are currently analyzing data on COPD.

Investigators

Yasmin Cypel, Ph.D., M.S.
Victoria Davey, Ph.D., M.P.H., R.N.
Stephanie Eber, M.P.H.
Aaron Schneiderman, Ph.D., M.P.H., R.N.

Related Publications

Cypel YS, Hines SE, Davey VJ, Eber SM, Schneiderman AI. Self-reported physician-diagnosed chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and spirometry patterns in Vietnam Era US Army Chemical Corps Veterans: A retrospective cohort study. Am J Ind Med 2018.

Cypel YS, Kress AM, Eber SM, Schneiderman AI, Davey VJ. Herbicide exposure, Vietnam service, and hypertension risk in Army Chemical Corps Veterans. J Occup Environ Med 2016; 58: 1127-1136.

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 Jr., Lees PS, 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, Patterson DG Jr., Matanoski GM, Kanchanaraksa S, Lees PS.  Dalager NA, Kang HK. U.S. Army Chemical Corps Vietnam Veterans health study: Preliminary results. Chemosphere 2001; 43:943-949.

gov/pubmed/9131227" target="_blank">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.