ROCKVILLE, Maryland – Government health advisers debated Thursday what should be done with data and other material generated by a 24-year federal study of the health effects of exposure to Agent Orange.
The study involving veterans who served in the Air Force during the Vietnam War is set to end later this month, at least partially closing another chapter on the war.
The study included about 3,000 people — 1,000 "Ranch Handers" along with 2,000 other Air Force personnel who were not involved in the spraying of the defoliant Agent Orange.
The U.S. military sprayed some 11 million gallons of the defoliant over the jungles of southern and central Vietnam to expose enemy supply lines, sanctuaries and bases from 1962 to 1971.
Airmen were exposed to Agent Orange during spraying flights, while loading the chemical onto the aircraft and while performing maintenance on the aircraft and the equipment for spraying.
Agent Orange contains dioxin, a cancer-causing byproduct that has been linked to medical ailments in both U.S. war veterans and their Vietnamese counterparts.
The Food and Drug Administration's Ranch Hand Advisory Committee was holding its final meeting Thursday.