165898 US and Vietnam Agent Orange research 1968-2007

Monday, November 5, 2007: 5:20 PM

Arnold Schecter, MD, MPH , University of Texas, School of Public Health at Dallas, Dallas, TX
Hoang Trong Quynh, MD, PhD , Institute for Sustainable Agriculture, Hai Ba Trung district - Hanoi, Vietnam
Olaf Paepke, MS , ERGO-Eurofins Laboratory, Hamburg, Germany
John D. Constable, MD , Harvard Medical School/Mass. General Hospital, Sherborn, MA
Nirav C. Shah, MBBS , University of Texas, School of Public Health at Dallas, Dallas, TX
US and Vietnamese Agent Orange health research began about 1968 when one of us (JDC) and colleagues, working with Vietnamese scientists in Vietnam, began to study Agent Orange along with its dioxin contaminant, 2,3,7-8-TCDD. This work produced the first dioxin measurements in biota, nursing mothers' milk and fish. Milk from Vietnamese women living in heavily Agent Orange sprayed areas were found to have very high levels of TCDD, up to 1,850 parts per trillion (PPT) lipid, measured by Baughman and Meselson of Harvard University in the early 1980s. These levels in milk were far higher than levels in US mothers milk. Not all Vietnamese women living in sprayed areas were found to have elevated TCDD. In short, exposure varied even in Vietnamese living in Agent Orange sprayed areas. The research began again with a 1982 Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), Vietnam, Agent Orange workshop where foreign scientists interacted with Vietnamese scientists and one of us (JDC) brought samples from Vietnam for dioxin analysis. In 1984, a new collaboration began with one of us (AJS) working in Vietnam over 25 times between then and now with Vietnamese scientists, and also chemists from many countries, and JDC. Findings documented persistence of dioxin from Agent Orange contamination in humans, food, wildlife and the environment (soil and sediment) in some (only) Agent Orange contaminated areas. Some areas such as Bien Hoa were found with very high TCDD levels in all matrices studied, and ongoing contamination of people with TCDD from food continued in some cases. Other toxic chemicals are also being measured in Vietnamese people in addition to TCDD from Agent Orange. Despite these findings, most areas in Vietnam were not contaminated with Agent Orange/TCDD.

Learning Objectives:
Describe historical aspects of US and Vietnamese Agent Orange research. Will be able to provide data on dioxin levels in Vietnamese from Agent Orange. Will be able to provide data on dioxin levels in Vietnamese food from Agent Orange.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Any relevant financial relationships? No
Any institutionally-contracted trials related to this submission?

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.