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Ind Health. 2003 Jul;41(3):149-57.

Impact of Agent Orange exposure among Korean Vietnam veterans.

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Department of Epidemiology, School of Public Health, Seoul National University, 28 Yunkeun-Dong, Chongno-Ku, Seoul 110-799, Republic of Korea.


In order to determine whether Agent Orange exposure was associated with increased frequency of medical problems, we conducted a cross-sectional epidemiologic study of Korean veterans during 1995-1996. 1,224 Vietnam and 154 non-Vietnam veterans were included in the study. Exposure to Agent Orange was assessed by structured in-depth interview on the participants' history of service in Vietnam. Health outcomes were assessed by a standardized comprehensive clinical investigation by a group of clinical specialists. The differences in the prevalence of various medical diagnoses were assessed by Cochran-Mantel-Haenszel chi-square tests comparing the exposure levels of Vietnam veterans, adjusting for age. Multiple logistic regression was performed to estimate the effect of "service in Vietnam" adjusting for age, smoking, alcohol, body mass index, education, and marital status. Vietnam veterans had an increased frequency of eczema (odds ratio [OR] = 6.54), radiculopathy (OR = 3.98), diabetes (OR = 2.69), peripheral neuropathy (OR = 2.39), and hypertension (OR = 2.29), compared to non-Vietnam veterans, adjusting for potential confounders. In addition, higher levels of exposure among Vietnam veterans were associated with increased frequency of ischemic heart disease (p < 0.01), valvular heart disease (p < 0.01), and retinopathy (p < 0.01). We conclude that exposure to Agent Orange is associated with various health impacts in Korean Vietnam veterans.

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