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To address concerns among Vietnam War veterans about the consequences of exposure to Agent Orange and its contaminant 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (dioxin), Congress in late 1978 directed the Air Force to begin planning the Air Force Health Study to evaluate the health, survival and reproductive outcomes of veterans of Operation Ranch Hand, the unit responsible for the aerial spraying of herbicides in Vietnam from 1962 to 1971. The study seeks to determine whether Ranch Hand veterans have experienced adverse health and whether those effects, if they exist, can be attributed to exposure to herbicides or dioxin. Ranch Hand veterans were exposed to herbicides during flight operations and maintenance of the aircraft and spray equipment. A comparison group of other Air Force veterans involved in C-130 aircraft missions in Southeast Asia during the same period that the Ranch Hand unit was active was included. Comparison veterans were not involved with spraying herbicides. The study includes periodic analyses of post-service mortality, physical examinations, in-person interviews, medical record retrievals, and psychological testing. The study protocol was written and reviewed during the period June 1979 through January 1982. Physical examinations were administered in 1982, 1985, 1987, 1992 and 1997. An additional examination is planned for 2002.

Advisory Committee Meeting


5 April 2001


8:30 am to 4:30 pm


Parklawn Bldg
5600 Fishers Lane
Third Floor
Conference Room "B"
Rockville MD

2 Apr 01 - Added Ranch Hand Overview to Presentations page
19 Mar 01
- Added more info to the Compensation Information page
1 Aug 00
- Response to the National Academies regarding Dioxin and Diabetes

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This page was last updated on 2 April 2001

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