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January 11, 1980

Air Force will study men who sprayed Agent Orange

JAMA. 1980;243(2):102-103. doi:10.1001/jama.1980.03300280006003

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Air Force physicians expect to begin study this month of about 1,200 men who sprayed Agent Orange defoliant on South Vietnam's jungles during the war in Southeast Asia to deny cover and crops to the enemy.

Orange was the most widely used of the color-coded herbicides (Blue, White, Purple, and Orange). More than 42.6 million L of it were sprayed from the air from 1965 until the end of the war. Questions since have arisen about the effects on human health of 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-para-dioxin (TCDD or dioxin), a contaminant in esters of herbicidal combinations such as Agent Orange.

The air force study, which was to begin in October, is expected to last well into this decade (JAMA [MEDICAL NEWS] 242:593-597, 1979).

In the meantime, some Vietnam War veterans met in Chicago again last month to urge the federal government to take more action, including some steps recommended in a report by