We studied whether paternal exposure to Agent Orange and its dioxin contaminant (2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin) during the Vietnam War is related to adverse reproductive outcomes after service in Southeast Asia. The index cohort comprises conceptions and children of veterans of Operation Ranch Hand, the unit responsible for aerial spraying of herbicides in Vietnam from 1962 to 1971. The comparison cohort comprises conceptions and children of Air Force veterans who served in Southeast Asia during the same period but who were not involved with spraying herbicides. We found no meaningful elevation in risk for spontaneous abortion or stillbirth. In analyses of birth defects, we found elevations in risk in some organ system categories, which, after review of the clinical descriptions, were found to be not biologically meaningful. There was an increase in nervous system defects in Ranch Hand children with increased paternal dioxin, but it was based on sparse data. We found no indication of increased birth defect severity, delays in development, or hyperkinetic syndrome with paternal dioxin. These data provide little or no support for the theory that paternal exposure to Agent Orange and its dioxin contaminant is associated with adverse reproductive outcomes.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes