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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Agent Orange in war medicine: an aftermath myth.

Since the late 1970s several epidemiological studies have appeared linking exposure to phenoxy herbicides or chlorophenols to some malignant tumors. Most of these compounds are contaminated with dioxins and dibenzofurans; for example, 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD) is a contaminant of 2,4,5-trichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4,5-T), a component of Agent Orange which was sprayed in Vietnam during the war. The results of some of the epidemiological studies on cancer risks associated with exposure to these compounds have been manipulated and misinterpreted, particularly by the Australian Royal Commission on the Use and Effects of Chemical Agents on Australian Personnel in Vietnam. Furthermore, a book on Australian war history entitled Medicine at War, commissioned by the Federal Government, reiterates several of these misinterpretations, despite available contrary evaluations from Australian and U.S. authorities. These remarkable and confusing circumstances in the scientific process are considered also in the light of the recent classification of TCDD as carcinogenic to humans, Group 1, by a Working Group at the International Agency for Research on Cancer in Lyon, France.[1]


  1. Agent Orange in war medicine: an aftermath myth. Hardell, L., Eriksson, M., Axelson, O. International journal of health services : planning, administration, evaluation. (1998) [Pubmed]
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