Keep Studying Agent Orange:

The Institute of Medicine’s latest report reviewing the health effects of veterans exposed to Agent Orange—a herbicidal agent used to destroy foliage—during the Vietnam War recommends “the pursuit of additional research in toxicology, exposure assessment, and epidemiology.” Congress called in 1991 for a series of IOM reviews of the Agent Orange health effects and in 2001 extended the biennial reports through 2014. The 2007 update committee believes that new techniques in research and data analysis, coupled with more long term health data from service members exposed to Agent Orange could “resolve continuing scientific uncertainties about the health effects of the herbicides used in Vietnam.” In its review, the latest committee decided to change the health outcome categories assigned to some types of illnesses. For instance, it shifted several cancers from “limited or suggestive evidence of no association” to Agent Orange exposure back to “inadequate or insufficient evidence to determine association.” (For background on the Agent Orange operation, read our 2000 article “Ranch Hand.”)