Diseases Caused By Exposure To
Agent Orange, Agent Purple & Agent White
Veterans Affairs Canada
Health Risks Associated with Exposure to Agent Orange and Other Herbicides
September 12, 2007
Based on the scientific evidence available, the IOM has identified various health outcomes that are statistically associated with exposure to Agent Orange but has not concluded that exposure is the actual cause of these health outcomes.
The vast majority of these associations have only been observed in studies of heavily exposed populations, such as workers who were involved in chemical manufacturing or who have applied herbicides for many years. The IOM states, "many conclusions regarding associations between exposure, to TCDD or herbicides, and diseases are based on studies of people exposed in occupational and environmental settings rather than on studies of Vietnam Veterans."
As of Update 2004, the IOM concluded there is "sufficient evidence of an association" for five health outcomes (referenced as Category 1). The designation "sufficient evidence of an association" means that a positive association has been observed between herbicides and the outcomes in studies in which chance, bias and confounding could be ruled out with reasonable confidence.
1. Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) - most common of the four primary forms of leukemia: the acute and chronic forms of lymphocytic leukemia and acute and chronic forms of myeloid leukemia.
2. Soft-tissue sarcomas - a group of different types of malignant tumours (cancer) that arise from body tissues such as muscle, fat, blood and lymph vessels and connective tissues (that is, distinct from hard tissue such as bone or cartilage). These tumours are relatively rare.
3. Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma - a group of rare malignant tumours that affect the lymph glands and other lymphatic tissue.
4. Hodgkin's disease - a malignant lymphoma (type of cancer) characterized by progressive enlargement of the lymph nodes, liver, and spleen, and by progressive anemia.
5. Chloracne, - a skin condition that looks like common forms of acne that often affect teenagers.
The IOM has also found "limited or suggestive evidence of an association" for seven outcomes (referenced as Category 2). The designation "limited or suggestive" means that the scientific evidence of an association is limited because chance, bias and confounding could not be ruled out with confidence.
6. Respiratory cancer (of lung and bronchus, larynx, and trachea)
7. Prostate cancer - one of the most common cancers among men.
8. Multiple myeloma - a form of cancer in specific bone marrow cells called the plasma cell. This form of cancer is characterized by plasma cell tumours in bones in various parts of the body.
9. Early onset transient peripheral neuropathy - a nervous system condition that causes numbness, tingling, and muscle weakness by involvement of the peripheral nervous system, that is, nerves outside the brain and spinal cord.
10. Porphyria cutanea tarda - a disorder characterized by thinning and blistering of the skin in sun-exposed areas.
11. Type 2 diabetes (mellitis) - high blood sugar levels that result from defects in the body's ability to produce and/or resistance to the actions of the hormone insulin characterize diabetes. There are two major types of diabetes: Type 1 and Type 2. Type 1 occurs most commonly among juveniles but occasionally among adults. Type 2 occurs primarily in adults and only occasionally in juveniles.
12. Spina bifida in offspring of exposed individuals - most frequently occurring permanently disabling birth defect. Neural tube defects (NTD) are birth defects that involve incomplete development of the brain, spinal cord, and/or protective coverings for these organs. Spina bifida, the most common type of NTD, results from the failure of the bony spine to close properly during the first month of pregnancy. In severe cases of spina bifida, the spinal cord protrudes through the back and may be covered only by skin or a thin membrane.
Veterans and Agent Orange
The following list of diseases are officially recognized by the United States Institute of Medicine (IOM) as being caused by exposure to Agent Orange and Agent Purple, both of which contained 2,4-D + 2,4,5-T.
The most lethal chemical in the world is TCDD - 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin which was contained in both Agent Orange and Agent Purple.
However, this is a restrictive list and only covers diseases caused by Agent Orange and/or Agent Purple because of the contamination of 2,4,5-T.
The IOM does not include any diseases caused by Agent White (Tordon products that were contaminated with Hexachlorobenzene). The following are caused by Agent Orange and Agent Purple.
INSTITUTE OF MEDICINE OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES
Veterans and Agent Orange: Update 2008
TABLE S-1 Summary of Seventh Biennial Update of Findings of Occupational, Environmental, and Veterans Studies Regarding Associations Between Exposure to Herbicides and Specific Health Outcomes.
Sufficient Evidence of an Association
Epidemiologic evidence is sufficient to conclude that there is a positive association. That is, a positive association has been observed between exposure to herbicides and the outcome in studies in which chance, bias, and confounding could be ruled out with reasonable confidence.b For example, if several small studies that are free of bias and confounding show an association that is consistent in magnitude and direction, there could be sufficient evidence of an association. There is sufficient evidence of an association between exposure to the chemicals of interest and the following health outcomes:
Limited or Suggestive Evidence of an Association
Epidemiologic evidence suggests an association between exposure to herbicides and the outcome, but a firm conclusion is limited because chance, bias, and confounding could not be ruled out with confidence.b For example, a well-conducted study with strong findings in accord with less compelling results from studies of populations with similar exposures could constitute such evidence. There is limited or suggestive evidence of an association between exposure to the chemicals of interest and the following health outcomes:
Inadequate or Insufficient Evidence to Determine an Association
The available epidemiologic studies are of insufficient quality, consistency, or statistical power to permit a conclusion regarding the presence or absence of an association. For example, studies fail to control for confounding, have inadequate exposure assessment, or fail to address latency. There is inadequate or insufficient evidence to determine association between exposure to the chemicals of interest and the following health outcomes that were explicitly reviewed:
This committee used a classification that spans the full array of cancers. However, reviews for nonmalignant conditions were conducted only if they were found to have been the subjects of epidemiologic investigation or at the request of the Department of Veterans Affairs. By default, any health outcome on which no epidemiologic information has been found falls into this category. Limited or Suggestive Evidence of No Association
Several adequate studies, which cover the full range of human exposure, are consistent in not showing a positive association between any magnitude of exposure to the herbicides of interest and the outcome. A conclusion of “no association” is inevitably limited to the conditions, exposures, and length of observation covered by the available studies.
Copyright National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
This executive summary plus thousands more available at http://www.nap.edu
On March 1, 2007, the Agent Orange Association of Canada sent a nine page letter containing the following list of diseases and comments to Greg Thompson, DVA Minister, The Prime Minister, his entire Cabinet and to every M.P. in Ottawa.
The letter was entitled: Doing the Math and the Health Consequences. (Click to READ)
For your reading convenience we are including the IOM Reports on "Veterans and Agent Orange" for the years of 2002 2004 2006
Veterans and Agent Orange
Veterans and Agent Orange
Veterans and Agent Orange
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