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April 6, 1979

Medical News

JAMA. 1979;241(14):1443-1451. doi:10.1001/jama.1979.03290400007002

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Dispute over some herbicides rages in wake of Agent Orange  The Agent Orange controversy continues.Opinions vary widely about the possible effects on humans of this and other herbicides used in Vietnam and the United States. The latest chapter involves the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which has ordered emergency suspension of most uses of the 2,4,5-trichlorophenoxyacetic acid ester herbicides, which are contained in Agent Orange.The EPA says there is a strong suggestion that women exposed to such herbicides (usually known collectively as 2,4,5-T) may be at increased risk of miscarriage. EPA officials say 130 spontaneous abortions occurred in Oregon's Alsea Basin area within three months after 2,4,5-T was sprayed on forests there. Some producers and users of the herbicides contend the data are insufficient and are challenging the order.The Agent Orange story first came to public attention during the American military involvement in Vietnam in the late