Agent Orange And High Blood Pressure | Chemical & Engineering News

Issue Date: July 30, 2007

Agent Orange And High Blood Pressure

Report suggests connection between herbicide exposure and hypertension
Department: Science & Technology | Collection: Safety

Exposure to dioxin-laced agent orange and other defoliants during the Vietnam War may be raising the blood pressure of some veterans, according to a report released on July 27 by the National Academies Institute of Medicine (IOM).

"In two new studies, Vietnam veterans with the highest exposure to herbicides exhibited distinct increases in the prevalence of hypertension," says the committee that wrote the report. The analysis is the seventh update since the early 1990s in a congressionally mandated series by IOM that has been examining evidence about the health effects of these herbicides.

The report says the results of the new studies are consistent with some previous findings. It notes, however, that other research, including a study of workers in a herbicide manufacturing plant, did not find evidence of an association between herbicide or dioxin exposure and increased incidence of high blood pressure.

Because of the inconsistent results, the IOM panel says, the cumulative body of evidence suggests but does not conclusively demonstrate that there is an association between high blood pressure and herbicide exposure.

Several illnesses, including prostate cancer and type 2 diabetes, have been linked to agent orange exposure and are covered by veterans??? disability compensation benefits. The Department of Veterans Affairs must now determine whether or not high blood pressure should be added to the list of diseases associated with herbicide exposure.

The U.S. military sprayed approximately 20 million gal of agent orange and other herbicides over parts of South Vietnam and Cambodia between 1962 and 1971 to clear dense jungle and remove cover that could conceal enemy forces.

Chemical & Engineering News
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