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J Prev Med Public Health. 2013 Sep;46(5):226-36. doi: 10.3961/jpmph.2013.46.5.226. Epub 2013 Sep 30.

Serum 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin levels and their association with age, body mass index, smoking, military record-based variables, and estimated exposure to Agent Orange in Korean Vietnam veterans.

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1
Department of Preventive Medicine and Public Health, Kwandong University College of Medicine, Gangneung, Korea.

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

The aim of this study was to examine the levels of serum 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD) and evaluate their association with age, body mass index, smoking, military record-based variables, and estimated exposure to Agent Orange in Korean Vietnam veterans.

METHODS:

Serum levels of TCDD were analyzed in 102 Vietnam veterans. Information on age, body mass index, and smoking status were obtained from a self-reported questionnaire. The perceived exposure was assessed by a 6-item questionnaire. Two proximity-based exposures were constructed by division/brigade level and battalion/company level unit information using the Stellman exposure opportunity index model.

RESULTS:

The mean and median of serum TCDD levels was 1.2 parts per trillion (ppt) and 0.9 ppt, respectively. Only 2 Vietnam veterans had elevated levels of TCDD (>10 ppt). The levels of TCDD did not tend to increase with the likelihood of exposure to Agent Orange, as estimated from either proximity-based exposure or perceived self-reported exposure. The serum TCDD levels were not significantly different according to military unit, year of first deployment, duration of deployment, military rank, age, body mass index, and smoking status.

CONCLUSIONS:

The average serum TCDD levels in the Korean Vietnam veterans were lower than those reported for other occupationally or environmentally exposed groups and US Vietnam veterans, and their use as an objective marker of Agent Orange exposure may have some limitations. The unit of deployment, duration of deployment, year of first deployment, military rank, perceived self-reported exposure, and proximity-based exposure to Agent Orange were not associated with TCDD levels in Korean Vietnam veterans. Age, body mass index and smoking also were not associated with TCDD levels.

KEYWORDS:

Agent Orange; Dioxins; Korea; Tetrachlorodibenzodioxin; Veterans; Vietnam War

PMID:
24137525
PMCID:
PMC3796648
DOI:
10.3961/jpmph.2013.46.5.226
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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