18 January 2018

Agent Orange exposure and cancer incidence in South Korean Vietnam veterans: a prospective cohort study

Cancer. 2014 Dec 1;120(23):3699-706. doi: 10.1002/cncr.28961. Epub 2014 Aug 7.

Agent Orange exposure and cancer incidence in Korean Vietnam veterans: a prospective cohort study (South Korean Vietnam War Veterans)
Yi SW1, Ohrr H.
Author information
During the Vietnam War, US and allied military sprayed approximately 77 million liters of tactical herbicides including Agent Orange, contaminated with 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin. To the authors' knowledge, few studies to date have examined the association between Agent Orange exposure and cancer incidence among Korean veterans who were exposed to Agent Orange during the Vietnam War.

An Agent Orange exposure index, based on the proximity of the veteran's military unit to the area that was sprayed with Agent Orange, was developed using a geographic information system-based model. Cancer incidence was followed for 180,251 Vietnam veterans from 1992 through 2003.

After adjustment for age and military rank, high exposure to Agent Orange was found to significantly increase the risk of all cancers combined (adjusted hazards ratio [aHR], 1.08). Risks for cancers of the mouth (aHR, 2.54), salivary glands (aHR, 6.96), stomach (aHR, 1.14), and small intestine (aHR, 2.30) were found to be significantly higher in the high-exposure group compared with the low-exposure group. Risks for cancers of all sites combined (aHR, 1.02) and for cancers of the salivary glands (aHR, 1.47), stomach (aHR, 1.03), small intestine (aHR, 1.24), and liver (aHR, 1.02) were elevated with a 1-unit increase in the exposure index.

Exposure to Agent Orange several decades earlier may increase the risk of cancers in all sites combined, as well as "several specific cancers", among Korean veterans of the Vietnam War, including some cancers that were not found to be clearly associated with exposure to Agent Orange in previous cohort studies primarily based on Western populations.

06 January 2018

USAF C-123 Report: We're going to set the record straight in 2018

Nearly five years ago the US Air Force School of Aerospace Medicine (USAFSAM) at Wright-Patterson AFB released their study of the post-Vietnam C-123 transports previously used for spraying Agent Orange. The planes were used for a decade after the
Vietnam War and had never been decontaminated of the military herbicides they dispersed. The study was ordered by the Air Force when C-123 veterans complained of likely Agent Orange exposure.

The study was flawed, and tainted with command interference obvious when compared to the 38-page draft report the scientists themselves submitted. The study seemed torn between political and scientific goals, rather than science alone as would be proper. Veterans were concerned about their health but the report assured them the planes were unlikely to have been contaminated enough to cause medical issues typically associated with Agent Orange exposure.

The Air Force declined to inform aircrews of the twice-proven C-123 contamination, insisting it "would only cause undue distress and provide limited benefit." Message: we'd already been poisoned, and knowing about the poison wouldn't help us very much.

This blog began on March 14, 2011, a year before the USAFSAM report was released, and we've earned a seven-year track record of honesty and accurate interpretations of USAF and VA source data. Seven years ago, we said the Air Force and the VA were both wrong about our exposures.

By January 2015, we were proven right and they were proven wrong when the definitive Institute of Medicine report "Post-Vietnam Dioxin Exposure in Agent Orange-Contam-inated C-123 Aircraft" was submitted to the Secretary of Veterans Affairs. They were wrong, but only the veterans involved paid any penalty for errors because for six years, VA refused these vets all medical care and other benefits.

Two of those six years, 2012 to 2014, are tied to the tainted USAFSAM report and how the VA misused it. For these years VA refused all medical care, compensation, family assistance...everything needed by disabled veterans, citing the USAFSAM report as justification for VA locking its hospital doors to C-123 veterans.

Today, we begin our challenge of the USAFSAM report, together with an exposure of the damage done when VA relied on the report to cancel their own 2012 promise for referral of the C-123 question to the Institute of Medicine.

The goal now is to have the Air Force either withdraw their C-123 report ("UC-123 Agent Orange Exposure Assessment, Post-Vietnam [972-1982]) or, more probable, annotate it in some way to describe its errors and shortfalls. It should not be allowed to stand, as it has for five years, as the official Air Force conclusion about C-123 veterans and our exposures. It fouls the scientific record and offends the veterans it mistreated.

Now a clarification as we move forward. We will deal with three reports:
1. The 2012 USAFSAM C-123 Report (done)
2. The 2012 VA-promised referral to the Institute of Medicine (promised, cancelled)
3. The 2015 Institute of Medicine report, ordered by the VA (done)